An encounter began between security forces and militants in Khudwani area of J&K's Kulgam district in the early hours of Wednesday.
A statement issued by it in read: "The three civilians, Sarjeel Sheikh of Khudwani, Bilal Ah Tantray of Frisal and Faisal Ilahi of Melhoora Shopian, who were injured in the crossfire, have also succumbed to their injuries".
The Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police are jointly carrying out the operation. "Two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants are believed hiding in the area", said the police.
Local residents started pelting security personnel with stones, leading to clashes, they said, adding that some civilians were injured.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. However, the warnings went unheeded and four civilians were killed, they said. The three LeT terrorists, who had escaped, later resurfaced at the encounter site after security forces withdrew the cordon. One of them later succumbed to his injuries. "They have been sent to Srinagar for specialized treatment", the police officer said.
Four injured civilians have been referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment.
In wake of Kulgam killings, authorities on Wednesday afternoon chose to snap mobile internet services in south Kashmir parts while as they asked the cellular companies to reduce mobile internet speed in district Srinagar as "a precautionary measure".
As the news of civilian deaths spread, protests broke out in several areas of north Kashmir including Baramulla, Bandipora and Sopore towns, officials said.
Schools, colleges and businesses in the Kashmir valley closed in answer to a strike call from separatists in protest at the killings.
The latest killings came days after 13 militants, five civilians and three soldiers were killed in one of the most violent days in Kashmir in recent years on April 1.
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