At least 15 security personnel and one civilian were killed on Wednesday in an IED blast triggered by Maoists in Maharashtra\u2019s Gadchiroli district. The IED blast came hours after Maoists torched 25 vehicles of a road construction contractor earlier in the day. According to the police, the 15 security personnel killed were members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Gadchiroli police, which was on way to inspect the torched vehicles. The blast, which almost destroyed the vehicle the personnel were travelling in, took place as they reached Lendhari nallah in Kurkheda area. DIG (Gadchiroli range) Ankush Shinde told The Indian Express, \u201cThe QRT was from Kurkheda police station. They were going to Purada village in a private vehicle. \u201cThe blast occurred at around 12.30 pm near a nullah called Lendari in which 15 of our jawans have become martyrs.\u201d Asked if the QRT was rushing to the arson spot, Shinde said, \u201cWe don\u2019t rush to such spots since it is always fraught with the danger of ambush. I will have to get the ground report about where the QRT was headed.\u201d Incidentally, the Kurkheda area had long been free from Maoist violence for a long time. Shinde said the torching of vehicles and the IED blast spot were 15-20 km apart. He estimated that the landmine contained 40 kg of explosives and was triggered by a single man deployed nearby. Asked if the attack meant that Maoists had information about the police party travelling on that road in a private vehicle, Shinde said, \u201cMaybe\u201d. According to Shinde, three Naxal militia formations are suspected to be behind the attack - the Kurkheda-Korch-Khobramendha dalam, Tipagadh dalam, and Company 4. Last year, 51 Maoists were killed in police operations in the area. Wednesday\u2019s incident is being seen as a counter-attack by the Naxals. Earlier, on April 9, the day of the first phase of the elections, Naxals triggered explosives at Gatta polling centre, after which the police scaled up the patrolling in the entire region. But the police seemed to have dropped their guard thereafter, and appear to have had not the slightest hint about today\u2019s attack. Calling the attack a \u201cbig loss\u201d for the force, Maharashtra DGP Subodh Kumar Jaiswal said that the blast in Gadchiroli was not a result of intelligence failure. \u201cI cannot call this an intelligence failure. The Maharashtra police will take whatever action needed against such activities. It is a big loss for Maharashtra police,\u201d he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack and said that the perpetrators will not be spared. \u201cI salute all the brave personnel. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. My thoughts and solidarity are with the bereaved families. The perpetrators of such violence will not be spared,\u201d he tweeted. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also expressed grief over the loss of lives. \u201cAnguished 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\u2019 families. I\u2019m in touch with DGP and Gadchiroli SP. I strongly condemn this attack and we will fight this menace with even more and stronger efforts. I also spoke to Hon Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh ji and briefed him about the situation in Maharashtra,\u201d he said on Twitter.