Indian security forces kill 8 Maoist rebels

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HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Indian police killed at least eight Maoist rebels in an attack Thursday on their hideout in a forested area in southern India, an officer said.

Police seized a weapons cache, including five rifles, from the insurgents after the clash in Telangana state, police officer Amber Kishore said. No police casualties were reported.

Kishore said the insurgents belonged to a faction of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) group which has been lying low for several years and regrouping in the state. The region is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Hyderabad, the state capital.

"On receipt of information of a meeting of an armed group, police surrounded the forest area. When their attempts to escape failed, the insurgents opened fire and in retaliatory firing by the police eight members of the group were killed," Kishore said.

Indian soldiers have been battling the rebels in several states since 1967, when the militants — also known as Naxalites — began fighting to demand more jobs, land and wealth from natural resources for poor indigenous communities.

The government says the insurgents, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, pose the country's most serious internal security threat.

In their deadliest attack in 2010, rebels killed 76 soldiers in Chhattisgarh, one of the most-affected states.

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