KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ Hundreds of communist rebels attacked security bases and bombed government buildings in a mountain town in eastern Nepal, sparking battles that left at 13 people dead, officials said Monday.

The rebels also attacked the jail in Illam, freeing more than 100 inmates, including suspected guerrillas.

The rebels blocked the only highway into the town, about 345 miles east of the capital, Katmandu, before launching the overnight attack, said the chief officer of the district, Krishna Prasad Poudel.

Soldiers recovered the bodies of eight rebels, an army official, a policeman, and two civilians caught in the crossfire, he said. One policeman later died of his injuries.

The rebels have escalated attacks since withdrawing from a four-month unilateral cease-fire earlier this year because the government refused to join the truce.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by the Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have fought for a decade to replace the constitutional monarchy with a communist government. The insurgency has claimed nearly 13,000 lives.