The security forces were attacked when returning from a search operation near a forest in Chhattisgarh, a police official has said, adding that search operations are still underway for personnel missing.
Police officer Sharad Shelar says Maoist rebels triggered a land mine blast in the forested Gadchiroli area in Maharashtra state as a van carrying police commandos passed through.
Heavy-handed policing in central India's Chhattisgarh state has left tens of thousands of people estranged from the Indian state.
The soldiers were guarding road workers in the rebel bastion Sukma district of Chhattisgarh state when they came under heavy fire resulting in the death of two dozen soldiers, officials say. Local media revised the death toll to 26.
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