SRINAGAR: Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, both close aides of outfit commander Riyaz Naikoo, were killed Thursday in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

"Based on a credible input about presence of terrorists at Sharshali in Awantipora area of Pulwama district, a cordon and search operation was launched swiftly by security forces in the early hours of Thursday," a police official said.

The official said as the searches were going on, security forces were fired upon by militants. The fire was retaliated by security forces, leading to a gunfight.

"In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists were neutralized and the bodies retrieved from the site of encounter," he said.

The slain militants have been identified as Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab and Adil Bilal Bhat alias Umair al Hizbi.

"Both of them were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen," the official said.

As per police records, Lone was self-styled district commander of Hizb for Pulwama.

"Lone was one of the top commanders of HM and had a long history of terror crime records since 2015. He was a close associate of terrorist commander Riyaz Naikoo and had escaped from an encounter site in Srinagar earlier," he said.

Both militants were wanted by the law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities, the official said.

"Bhat, being a close associate of Riyaz Naikoo, was also involved in several terror crimes. Among other terror offences, he also figured in killing of Head Constable Ashiq Hussain at Awantipora in October 2017," he said.

Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter, the official said.

More than two dozen militants have been killed in encounters with security forces over the past eight days.