Five heavily-armed militants were shot dead by troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district on Saturday, raising the number of infiltrators gunned down in the sector in four days to eight, a defence spokesman said.

The infiltration bid was scuttled in Keran sector, 140 km from here, Lt. Col. J.S. Brar told PTI.

He said troops deployed on the LOC observed movement of militants from across. As the group tried to cross the border, they were challenged and fired at by the soldiers.

Five militants were killed on the spot, he said adding a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the slain militants.

The Army scuttled the first infiltration bid from across the border on March 24 when they shot dead two infiltrators in the same sector. Another militant was killed in the same sector on Friday, raising the number of militants killed in the sector within four days to eight, he said.

The killing of two militants along the LoC in Keran sector was after the first infiltration bid from across the border in the valley this year. Usually, infiltration attempts pick up in late April but early melting of snow this season due to rising temperatures encouraged the leadership to push militants early, official sources said.

Intelligence reports had recently suggested that a large number of militants were waiting in the wings near the LoC to cross over to this side to step up violence in the State.

The infiltration bid by militants gave credence to the reports but the Army said it was fully prepared to meet any challenge.