Suhag is being briefed by the 3 Corps commanders and top police officials, army sources said. They said that a detailed operation plan is being worked out for sustained and targeted operations against the insurgents.

The focus currently is to send back bodies of the martyred soldiers and sanitise the area completely, the sources said. In the worst such attack in two decades, insurgents had yesterday ambushed a military convoy in Manipur's Chandel district killing at least 18 Army personnel and injuring 11 others.

Army and civilian authorities suspect the involvement of Manipur rebel outfit Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), a Meitei revolutionary organisation, who used landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last night condemned the attack as mindless and very distressing. Following a meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval last night, the government has directed the Army that no militant involved in the attack should be allowed to go scot free and strongest possible action should be taken against all those involved in the ambush.

A team of six Dogra Regiment was on a road opening patrol (ROP) as part of its daily routine along Tengnoupal-New Samtal road, about 80 km from Imphal, when it was attacked by an unidentified insurgent outfit first with a powerful improvised explosive device (IED).

After the IED blast, the insurgents resorted to heavy firing at the convoy of four army vehicles with RPGs and automatic weapons, Army sources said.

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