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Apr 12, 7:17 AM EDT

Rebels ambush police in central Indian forest, killing 7

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PATNA, India (AP) -- Maoist rebels attacked a group of policemen patrolling in a central Indian forest, killing seven and wounding another 10, police said.

The ambushed policemen were part of a special task force out searching for rebel activity early Saturday when the militants opened fire, according to R.K. Vij, a top police official in Chhattisgarh state.

Ten wounded officers were airlifted to a hospital in the state capital of Raipur. Few other details were available from the remote region in Sukma district, 385 kilometers (240 miles) south of Raipur.

The rebels have been called India's biggest internal security threat, operating in 20 of India's 28 states with thousands of fighters. Inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, they've been fighting for over three decades in central and eastern India to demand the poor receive more jobs and a greater share of wealth from natural resources.

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