Around 200 armed Maoists attacked a police patrol about a kilometer from Lahiri village.
The fierce gunbattle that lasted for nearly two hours 17 police personnel were killed. Police said the Naxals also suffered some casualties but the exact number of those killed or injured is still not known.
Gadhchiroli Superintendent of Police, S Jaya Kumar said, "We are now carrying out relief operations. The police party is combing the area. We are not sure about the number of the Naxals but the attack suggested that there could have been 100 Naxals."
Earlier, on Wednesday, Oct 7 Home Minister P Chidambaram had warned the rebels to abandon violence or face major assault by security forces following the beheading of the police officer.