At least 11 people have been killed in a police operation in Rio de Janeiro Favale

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RIO DE JANEIRO – Police in Rio de Janeiro raided the Villa Cruzeiro Favela just before dawn on Tuesday, sparking a devastating fire and state officials say at least 11 people have been killed.

Police said in a statement that the operation was aimed at identifying and arresting some criminal leaders from other states.

The statement said agents fired shots in preparation for their entry, which killed a resident on the spot. Eleven people were found injured and taken to a nearby state hospital after the gun battle, it said.

A statement from the state health secretariat said ten deaths had been confirmed in the hospital’s emergency room and two were being treated at the trauma branch. The local press reported that a 41-year-old woman killed at the scene was hit by a stray bullet.

At a news conference in Rio, Vira do Nascimento Ferreira, leader of the military police’s strategic unit, told reporters that authorities had tried to stop gang members outside the area, which was not possible after police began firing.

The operation was jointly conducted by the military police and the federal highway police. Police seized 16 vehicles, 13 automatic rifles as well as pistols and grenades, the police statement said.

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