Naxalite attack; Toll rises to 18 in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar,Feb 17(UNI) With three more police personnel succumbing to the Naxalite bullets during a combing operation, the toll in the Naxalite attack rose to 18 today.

Hundreds of armed Naxalites who raided the small town of Nayagarh, about 90 kms from here on the night of Friday, killed 14 police personnel including an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police and a civilian during their hours-long operation of attacking police stations and looting the armoury.

The bodies of three more police personnel including one Assistant Commandant and two Jawans, one of them from the Special Operation group, were recovered from the Gasama forest where the fierce encounter is continuing for the last two days between the force and the fleeing Naxalites.

The police also recovered the motorcycle in which the jawans had entered the forest during the combing operation.The bodies of the three police personnel were being taken to Bhanjangar for post mortem.

Meanwhile,sources said the Naxalites, in the face of a strong force engaged in the combing operation, had started dispersing in small groups and trekking inside the dense forest to find out alternative escape routes.

State Home Secretary T K Mishra told newspersons here that at least 20 Naxalites were killed in the intensive combing operation launched jointly by the Orissa police and para military forces assisted by the specially trained Grey hound team from Andhra Pradesh.

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