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An encounter broke out between security forces and militants in north Kashmir's Kupwara district today, but the ultras managed to flee, police said. Security forces launched a search operation in Langate area of Handwara in Kupwara following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants there, a police officer said. He said that as the forces were conducting search, the militants fired upon them, prompting retaliation. "As a cordon was being laid, the militants fired upon the forces, which was retaliated, but the militants managed to escape," the officer said. He said the search operation to trace the ultras was on.