Ten people, including nine security personnel, were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Naxals in Orissa's Koraput district, 500 km southwest of Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.
This brings the number of security personnel killed by Naxalites across India over the last six months to 177.
Eight of those killed belonged to the Orissa Special Security Force (OSSF), which has been specially created by the state government by drafting ex-servicemen, while the ninth, the driver of the jeep, was an Orissa State Armed Police (OSAP) personnel.
A civilian, who happened to be on the spot, also died.
The troops were on their way to assist Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel clear a major district road that Maoists had blocked by felling trees.
About 500 metres short of the roadblock, a powerful landmine blew up the OSSF jeep as it crossed a culvert, killing all its occupants.
The Koraput Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar Chauhan, who rushed to the spot, told HT: “We have sealed the whole area and a combing operation is on. I can say only this much at the moment.”
The elite Special Operations Group, the Greyhounds and the Central Reserve Police Force were involved in the operation.