At least 13 suspected Maoists died in an encounter with the Maharashtra Police’s C-60 commandos in Gadchiroli district on Friday, PTI quoted the police as saying.

The encounter broke out around 5.30 am in a forest at Kotmi in Etapalli, where the Maoists had assembled for a meeting, Gadchiroli Deputy Inspector General Sandeep Patil told the news agency.

Patil added that the police launched a search operation in the area based on specific inputs. The Maoists spotted the police personnel and opened fire, after which the C-60 commandos retaliated.

The encounter lasted for about an hour, Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal told PTI. He added that some of the Maoists escaped after the encounter.

Goyal added that the bodies of the Maoists were recovered and a search operation was on in places nearby.

In March, five Maoists had been killed in an encounter in the same district, The Times of India reported. Among them was 46-year-old Bhaskar Hichami, a top operative.

The two-and-a-half-hour gunfight between the Maoists and C-60 commandos was the one of longest encounters seen in Gadchiroli since the Maoist movement began, according to The Indian Express.