Srinagar: A 'district commander' of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit was shot dead in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on Thursday, police said.

The gunbattle erupted around 4 PM when the Special Operations Group (SOG) of local police cordoned off Asthan Mohalla locality of Kakapora, 32 kms from here, on receiving specific inputs about militants hiding in a house, a police officer said.

He said the militants opened fire on noticing the search party in an attempt to escape. However, the security forces retaliated killing a militant who was later identified as Talib Hussain Shah, a local resident.

"After specific information about the presence of militants, security forces surrounded Astan Mohalla (Kakapora) in Pulwama. When the hiding militants were challenged, they fired at the security forces triggering a gunfight in which Muhammad Afzal alias Talib was killed," a senior police officer said.

Reinforcements, including Rashtriya Rifles personnel, joined the SOG party and a massive search operation was underway to track down other associates of Shah, the officer said.

"The slain militant was active in Pulwama district since last year and he was on the wanted list of the security forces," the officer added.

Reports from the area said clashes erupted between a stone-pelting mob and the security forces after news about the killing of the LeT commander, who was a local, spread.