Jammu (Agencies):  Three top militants including a self-styled divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in a fierce gunbattle with security forces in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The slain militants have been identified as Hizb "commander" Abdul Rashid Naik alias Kari Zubair, Nisar Ambed alias Mansoor and Mustaq Ahmed, police said.

Kari, who had joined militant ranks in 2001, had escaped during three encounter in the last six months in Ramban district and was one of the most dreaded ultras.

Acting on a tip off, the troops had launched an operation near Jammu-Srinagar National at Manjote-Nachlana belt, 150 kms from here, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Maneesh Sinha said.

The gunbattle broke out between the militants and the security forces this morning. The three militants were killed in the enounter which lasted for several hours, army officer of 16 Corps Colonel A Arora said.

Three AK rifles and a large quantity of ammunition and explosive material were seized.