NEW DELHI - Suspected Maoist rebels have killed 10 paramilitary commandos in eastern India after ambushing their convoy and exploding a series of bombs, police said Tuesday, in the deadliest such attack since 2014.

Rebels detonated the homemade bombs on Monday afternoon as more than 100 police were conducting an anti-Maoist operation in dense forests in Bihar state, a senior officer said.

Attackers then fired indiscriminately from hilltops into the group from the Central Reserve Police Force who were stranded on lower ground, Kundan Krishnan, Bihar inspector general of police, said.

"The first group of jawans (troopers) was ambushed and a dozen IEDs (improvised explosive devices) exploded in no time," Krishnan told AFP.  "Eight died on the spot and two jawans died in hospital." At least three rebels were killed in the subsequent gunfight that lasted into Monday night before the Maoists fled deeper into the forest in Aurangabad district bordering Jharkhand state, Krishnan said.

Police were investigating whether the commandos were drawn into the forest by a false tipoff about Maoist movements in the area.

"We are investigating if we were lured to the area," Krishnan said, adding it was a "well planned attack".

Police and paramilitary reinforcements were rushed to the area but the operation was later called off.

"We called off the operation late at night as we suspect more mines were planted in the area," Saurabh Kumar, deputy inspector general of police in the region, told AFP.

The ambush comes after seven police were killed in March when their truck hit a landmine planted by the rebels in central Chhattisgarh state.

In December 2014, Maoists killed 13 police and wounded another 12 in an ambush in a remote part of Chhattisgarh. The troops were carrying out an operation deep in a forest when the gunmen attacked.

Tens of thousands of paramilitary troops and police are stationed in central and eastern India, fighting thousands of armed insurgents.

The Maoist rebels claim to be fighting for jobs, land and other rights for mainly tribal minorities who suffer grinding poverty.

The rebels regularly launch attacks on security personnel in dozens of districts in the so-called "Red Corridor" which stretches through the country.

The insurgency has claimed thousands of lives, and the government describes it as the country's most serious internal security threat.