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Indian forces shot dead two suspected rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir in clashes that also killed a young woman, police said yesterday, as the deadliest year of the decade in the disputed territory draws to a close.

It was reported that the gunfight started on Monday evening in Batmuran village of Shopian district when the troops of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police allegedly surrounded the house.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter as militants opened firing towards the security forces.

Two Jaish militants and a civilian were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir's Batmura village.

The police are searching the site. Forty civilians have been killed during protests against security forces in the state since the beginning of 2017. "A lady with a bullet injury in her abdomen was brought to our hospital who was referred to SMHS hospital in a critical condition, " he added.

Police said the woman died in the crossfire. "Of the two militants, one is a foreign militant and the other a local of JeM outfit", said a top police official. She succumbed on her way to the hospital.

The killings have invited sharp criticism from the resistance leadership led by octogenarian senior leader Syed Ali Geelani, and including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Over 200 militants, 75 police and soldiers and at least 40 civilians have died this year, the deadliest since 2010.

Meanwhile, the killings also led to intense nocturnal protests at the University of Kashmir. The surge in the killings comes after massive anti-India protests and clashes erupted in Kashmir previous year when popular rebel leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed.