Ranchi, India (BBN)- At least four policemen were killed and seven others injured in an over two-hour-long gun battle with suspected Maoist rebels in the country’s eastern Jharkhand state on Tuesday, police said.

The clash occurred in the district of Palamau, 190 kilometers (120 miles) from the state capital Ranchi.

The security forces were on a long-range patrolling, when the ultras attacked them near a village in Manatu area, a senior police official said.

The Maoist guerrillas were waiting inside the deep jungles and started firing indiscriminately as the policemen went past them, killing four of them on the spot. The two seriously injured policemen were admitted to a hospital, the police official added.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of Jharkhand. Nearly 1,500 people were killed in Maoist-related violence in the last eight years.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-17Jue09-4:50 am (BST)