SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Three suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with Indian troops in Indian-administered Kashmir’s southern Pulwama district on Wednesday, officials said.

An Indian army soldier also sustained injuries, who was moved to the army’s 92-Base Hospital.

Police sources told Anadolu Agency that a top commander of militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was killed in the exchange of fire along with his two associates.

Regional police, Indian Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and 183 Battalion of paramilitary forces launched an early morning cordon-and-search operation in the district’s Astan Mohalla Kangan area.

The search began following a tip-off that two to three JeM militants were present in the area, a police official said, adding that the militants opened fire, which was retaliated.

Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet: “03 #terrorists killed. Identification being ascertained. #Incriminating materials including #arms & #ammunition recovered.”

The army also confirmed the development, saying that the joint operation was launched on “specific intelligence input.”

“A cordon was laid and contact established in the morning. Announcements were made for the terrorists to surrender, but they opened fire on security forces. A firefight ensued. Three terrorists of JeM killed, including one IED expert,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services were blocked in the district following the gun battle.

More than 90 militants have been killed in Kashmir in 2020 so far, according to a police source.

Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, Islamabad and New Delhi have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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