An Indian Army officer was killed and three others were left critically injured during a major gunfight that erupted early on Monday in the Anantnag area of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The death of its army officer was a blow to the Indian security forces, less than a week since the 12 June killing of six personnel by two motorbike-borne suspects when they opened fire in the same town.
Kashmir Police said the gunfight broke out in Bindoora village, soon after security forces launched a cordon and search operation.
Two terrorists were killed in an operation that was still underway on Monday afternoon.
Police said that acting on a tip-off about the presence of terrorists at Bidroho Akingam, Anantnag troops of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir launched a search operation in the early hours of Monday.
"Two militants were killed and their bodies were recovered. However, when forces were searching the area there was fresh firing from militants still hiding there, which killed the major of the army while others injured," sources said.
Internet mobile services have been suspended as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of rumours. This year, at least 117 terrorists have been killed in gunfighting in Kashmir so far, while 68 security personnel have lost their lives in operations so far.
As per estimates, 286 terrorists are still believed to be active in the Kashmir valley. The Kashmiri insurrection commenced in 1989 with a section of pro-independence youths launching an armed struggle in the Indian-administered part of the region.
In the last 30 years, an estimated 10,000 people, including militants, have reportedly died in Kashmir, as Indian security forces seek to root out insurgency in the valley.