The army and police continued the combing operation in forest area of Halmatpora in border district of Kupwara on Thursday while IGP Kashmir S P Pani termed the operation as “difficult” and said all the five militants killed in the encounter were foreigners and belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba.
An army official said a search operation was going on in the forest area.
He said the police and army were conducting searches in the forest area to ensure that none of the militants was hiding in the area.
The encounter broke out in the Halmatpora area on Wednesday afternoon after militants attacked the joint party of police and army. The encounter lasted for two days during which five militants and five security men including three army men and two policemen were killed.
Sources said the group of militants sneaked in nearly 8 kms across the Line of Control (LoC) after crossing two ridges of the Shamsabari mountain range.
“The militants had met their reception party after crossing the LoC and were proceeding towards Kupwara town when they were spotted by police personnel,” they said.
The deceased policemen were identified as Deepak Thusoo and SPO Mohammad Yousuf while slain Army men were identified as Sepoy Ashraf Rather of 160 TA, Zoravar Singh of 160 TA and Naik Ranjeet Khalkho of 5 Bihar.
Talking to reporters on sidelines of wreath-laying ceremony of policemen, IGP S P Pani said the operation in Halmatpora was difficult.
He said the operation was in the final stage.
The IGP said five militants killed in the encounter were foreigners.
“The material recovered from the encounter site indicates that they were affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba,” he said.
He said huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the encounter site.