Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Babagund area of Kupwara following information about presence of militants there, the officials said. During the searches, the militants opened fire on the security forces, who retaliated.
There was lull in firing several times during the day but militants would resume firing as soon as the security forces advanced towards the house where the ultras were hiding, the officials said.
Three security force personnel have been killed in the exchange of fire, they said adding the operation was on when reports last came in. Four persons were also injured in clashes between a group of youngsters and security personnel near the encounter site, the officials said.