Dozens of Maoist rebels ambushed a security patrol in central India on Tuesday, killing at least 26 police.
The attack took place in Narayanpur in central Chhattisgarh state, seen as the citadel of the Indian Maoists. Police said the rebels fired from a hilltop on a party of about 70 security men patrolling on foot in a thickly forested region.
State Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar told reporters security forces returned fire and a gun battle raged for about three hours.
Maoist attacks have become bigger this year, especially after the government launched a coordinated security offensive involving tens of thousands of police trying to flush out the rebels from their jungle hideouts in central and eastern India.
There were two other incidents since April that testified to their strength - the killing of 76 police in an ambush and an attack on a bus that killed 35 people.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Maoists India's gravest internal security threat. Last year was the worst ever for casualties at more than 1,000 deaths. Already 400 people have died this year in an insurgency simmering for four decades.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 29 Haziran 2010, 19:25