The Maharashtra Police on Sunday gunned down five Naxals during an exchange of fire in the Gyarapatti area of Gadchiroli district. The face-off took place at Kosmi-Kisneli forest around 4pm, the Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police (SP) office said.

The deceased included three women cadres of the rebel outfit. Conducted by the C-60 commandos of the Gadchiroli police, it is said to be one of the biggest operations against the ultras this year.

“The C-60 commandos of the Gadchiroli police were conducting a combing operation in the forest area in Dhanora taluka, when Naxals opened fire,” it said in a statement. “However, the Naxals soon fled from the spot after the police team launched a retaliatory attack,” it said.

Later during the search, bodies of five ultras were found at the spot. Their identity is yet to be established, it added. Following the incident, Gadchiroli police have intensified the anti-Naxal operation in the forest, the statement said.

In a separate incident, two ultras were allegedly killed in an exchange of fire with the police in Mulugu district of Telangana on Sunday.

According to police, two members of the rebel group were killed in a gun battle with special police parties that were combing the forest area in Mangapet mandal of that district based on a tip-off.