Two civilians including a woman were killed during an ongoing encounter between militants and security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Srinagar-based English daily Greater Kashmir reported. 

According to police a top Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, involved in the killing of six policemen last month, was among the four ultras trapped in a security forces’ cordon. 

“Bashir Lakshari Bashir Lakshari and three terrorists are trapped in the security forces cordon in village Brenti in Anantnag. The trapped ultras were involved in the killing of an SHO and five other policemen in Achabal area of south Kashmir on June 16,” a police spokesman said.

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A woman was killed after she was caught in the exchange of fire between security forces and the militants during the operation.

Tahira, 44, sustained injuries during the encounter and was rushed to the district hospital, where she died later, officials said.

Another civilian identified as Shadab Ahmed was also killed when government forces opened fire on protesters trying to help militants escape the cordon in Brenty Batapora village, the GK report added. 

Ahmad, who had a bullet wound on face,  succumbed to his injuries in SKIMS hospital in Srinagar. 

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Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Brenti-Batpora in Anantnag early today after they received information about the presence of the militants, a police official said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire on the security forces.

A police spokesman said the militants were using civilians as human shields and that efforts were on to rescue them. The operation was still on.

On June 16, SHO Feroz Ahmed and five other policemen were killed on the outskirts of Anantnag district.

(With PTI inputs)