A view of the site where a police vehicle was blown up allegedly by Maoist rebels by using IED while it was carrying 16 security personnel in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra Wednesday

Maoists reportedly blew up at least one van carrying security personnel after it was reported earlier in the day that they had torched at least three dozen vehicles

GADCHIROLI: 15 security personnel and one driver have been killed in an IED blast by Naxals in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district, reports news agency ANI.

The Maoists blew up at least one van carrying security personnel here on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Those killed in the blast were members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) of Gadchiroli Police, which was on way to inspect vehicles which were torched earlier in the day, an official said.

Reacting to the incident, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said, "Anguished to know that our 16 police personnel from Gadchiroli C-60 force got martyred in a cowardly attack by naxals today. My thoughts and prayers are with the martyrs’ families. I’m in touch with DGP and Gadchiroli SP."

Further details are awaited of this incident that took place on Maharashtra Foundation Day, officials said.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that Maoists torched at least three dozen vehicles belonging to private contractors in Kurkheda sub-district of Gadchiroli.

The incident took place early in the day when the state was getting ready to celebrate its foundation day, Maharashtra Divas; while the Maoists were in the final stages of observing a week-long protest to mark the first anniversary of 40 of their comrades who were gunned down by security forces on April 22 last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the Naxal attack, saying perpetrators of such violence will not be spared.

"Strongly condemn the despicable attack on our security personnel in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. I salute all the brave personnel. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten," he tweeted.