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Rio police kill 13 drug suspects

June 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — Police killed at least 13 suspected drug traffickers Wednesday in a huge operation aimed at ending a war against gangs that has raged for nearly two months.

Authorities said 1,350 heavily armed officers and elite federal police supported by helicopters and armored cars descended on the sprawling Alemao shantytown and were met by automatic weapons fire and hand grenades.

At least 40 people have been killed and more than 80 injured since May 2, when the conflict was touched off by the killing of two police officers.

Rio de Janeiro state security chief Jose Mariano Beltrame said all the dead were suspected members of gangs that control the city's thriving drug trade.

Authorities said at least 10 people were wounded, most of them bystanders caught in the crossfire.

Beltrame said police entered areas of the slum where they have had no presence for years, resulting in intense fighting.

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