An intelligence input about a Maoist arms manufacturing unit led security forces to launch one of the biggest joint anti-Naxalite operations — Green Hunt — against the Red ultras inside Chinta Gufa area of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh . The gunfight that followed led to the killing of eight Naxalites and one COBRA commando with nearly 1,000 personnel surrounding a hideout amid firing from both sides. However, agency reports said 24 Maoists had been killed. Though the security forces — COBRA, CRPF and state police — had conducted operations in nearby areas in the wake of ambushes laid by ultras in the past, the decision to enter the Maoists’ den was proactive. Help has also been taken from police in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. “It is the first time security forces could reach the Chinta Gufa forest area, considered a major Naxalite hideout,” said an official. Though the arms manufacturing unit was busted on Thursday, the rebels there had fled the area. The others, who were first on the defensive, resisted forces only on Friday, killing COBRA assistant commandant Manoranjan Singh and injuring four jawans. Police said nearly 200 Naxalites have been surrounded and combined forces are fast approaching a key hideout.