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Two militants were killed in an encounter between security forces and terrorists in J&K’s Shopian district today (Sunday, May 12) morning.

Weapons and a huge cache of ammunition were recovered from the encounter site. The operation is still underway and more details are awaited, ANI reported.

Security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Hind Sita Pora area of Shopian district following specific information about the presence of militants there, PTI reported. As the forces were conducting the search operations, the militants fired upon them, which led to a gun battle in which the two militants were killed.

On Friday, security forces killed a top commander of Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) in a pre-dawn gunbattle in Shopian. The 34-year-old militant, Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi, had recently featured in the Islamic State mouthpiece, al-Risalah, in which he asserted the need for jihad in Kashmir and owed allegiance to the outfit’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Police officials said that he was killed during a gun battle in Amshipora area of Shopian which lasted from around 3:30 am to 4 am in an orchard. The forces had acted on a specific tip-off about his presence in the area.

A day after the encounter which killed Sofi, Reuters reported that the terror outfit claimed that it had established a “province” in Jammu and Kashmir. Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency late on Friday announced the new province, that it called “Wilayah of Hind”, in a statement that also claimed Islamic State inflicted casualties on Indian Army soldiers in the town of Amshipora.

Islamic State’s statement establishing the new province appears to be designed to bolster its standing after the group was driven from its self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in April, where at one point it controlled thousands of miles of territory.

Islamic State has stepped up hit-and-run raids and suicide attacks, including taking responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka that killed at least 253 people.

(With inputs from agencies)

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