11 dead in Rio de Janeiro police raid shootout

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Wounded taken to Getulio Vargas Hospital in Rio (AFP via Getty Images)
Wounded taken to Getulio Vargas Hospital in Rio (AFP via Getty Images)

A police raid in Rio de Janeiro left 11 people dead including an innocent woman hit by a stray bullet, authorities in the Brazilian city said.

Military officers came under fierce gunfire as they entered the Vila Cruzeiro slum to arrest “criminal leaders” at dawn.

In the ensuing battle, 10 suspects died as did a female resident of the favela.

The news website G1 said Tuesday’s raid targeted the Comando Vermelho or Red Command, one of Brazil’s most powerful mobs.

Authorities had sought to intercept gangsters outside the neighbourhood.

But that was not possible when the firefight erupted in high-ground and wooded areas, Uira do Nascimento Ferreira, head of the tactical unit, told reporters at a news conference in Rio.

Relatives wait outside hospital for the arrival of people injured (AP)
Relatives wait outside hospital for the arrival of people injured (AP)

The incursion was conducted jointly with federal highway police.

Officers seized 16 vehicles and 13 automatic rifles, as well as pistols and grenades, the statement said.

This was the deadliest Rio police raid in a year.

Last May, 28 people died - including a police officer – in an operation on a favela called Jacarezinho, one of the largest such tolls in the country’s history.

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