Suspected Maoist rebels detonated a roadside bomb in eastern India on Tuesday, killing six police officers and their driver, police said.

The team was patrolling an area of Aurangabad district in Bihar state when the rebels set off the bomb, which was planted near a culvert, senior police officer S.K. Bhardwaj said.

All seven men in the vehicle died instantly, he said. The blast occurred near Tandwa village, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Bihar's capital, Patna. There are many rebels in the area.

No other details were immediately available.

The rebels say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. They have been fighting the government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers and the poor.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the rebels are India's biggest internal threat. The rebels are present in 20 out of India's 28 states.