The police official said as the security forces were conducting search, militants fired upon them, triggering an encounter. "An army soldier was killed during the operation," the official cited. The official said according to intelligence reports, two militants belonging to Lashker-e-Islam (LeI) are believed to be holed up at the encounter site.

One of the holed up militants is believed to be Imtiyaz Ahmad Kandoo, a close aide of Qayoom Najar. Both Najar and Kandoo are believed to have defied the command of Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin and have been operating under the shadow name of LeI outfit.

Both the militants carry a bounty of Rs 10 lakh each on their heads. They are accused of killing six persons, including separatist activists and former militants in Sopore town. He added that the encounter was continuing till last reports came in and that further details of the operation were awaited.

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