A 45-year-old man was killed in a blast of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), suspected to have been planted by Maoists, in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district, police said on Monday.

The incident took place in Rengrahatu village in Tonto area on Sunday when the victim, identified as a local villager named Chetan Koda, had gone to a nearby forest to collect firewood, a police statement said.

Mr Koda suffered serious injuries and was rushed to Sadar hospital in Chaibasa, where he died, it said.

A massive anti-Maoist joint operation by CRPF and Jharkhand Police has recently been launched in the district, and Maoists have planted IEDs in an attempt to inflict casualties on security forces, a police officer said.

Describing the IED blast as a “cowardice act”, police said that the operations will continue against the red rebels.