By Zahid Rafiq
SRINAGAR, Jammu-Kashmir (AA) - Three suspected militants were killed during an alleged gunbattle with Indian armed forces on Saturday morning in northern Jammu-Kashmir's Sopore area, according to Indian army.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Rajesh Kalia said: "The forces had specific input about the presence of militants and they asked the militants to come out but they instead opened fire leading to the gunbattle."
A police spokesman said two of the three slain suspected militants supposedly belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit; identity of the third man is yet to be ascertained.
Indian armed forces continue to aggressively go after suspected militants in the disputed Kashmir valley and have killed 97 alleged militants in the first six months of this year.
Since Aug. 1, according to police records, eight suspected militants and two Indian soldiers were killed in separate gunbattles in the region; three civilians were also killed.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu-Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.