At least 25 people, including a police officer, have died in a fatal clash with drug traffickers in a shanty town in northern Rio de Janeiro.
The suspected traffickers attempted to escape across rooftops as police trooped into the slum in Jacarezinho in armoured vehicles.
Bullets fired during the shootout struck two passengers on a nearby metro train, the fire brigade said.
Three policemen were hit and one died of his wounds, police confirmed.
Also among the dead were leaders of the drug trafficking gang that dominated life in the slum.
At least 10 suspects have been arrested following the shootout
In a statement on its Facebook page, the city’s Civil Police said it was “with extreme regret”, that police inspector Andre Leonardo de Mello had been killed “during the operation to combat organized crime in the community of Jacarezinho”.
He paid tribute to the officer, saying “he honoured the profession he loved and will be missed”.
“The action was based on concrete intelligence and investigation information, he continued
“On occasion, criminals reacted strongly. Not just to run away but to kill.
“Unfortunately, the war scenario imposed by these gangs demonstrates the importance of operations so that criminal organisations do not strengthen themselves.”
The statement concluded that the incident meant “the work can’t stop”.
Jacarezinho, one of the city’s most populous favela, with about 40,000 residents, is controlled by the Comando Vermelho, one of Brazil’s leading criminal organisations and considered to be one of the group’s headquarters, the police said.
Thursday’s Police operation was aimed at investigating the recruitment of teenagers to hijack trains and commit other crimes, police said in a statement.
Observatory director Silvio Ramos said Thursday’s raid was among the deadliest in the city’s recent history.
“It was the deadliest single police operation in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which has suffered from drug violence in its poor neighbourhoods for decades.”
Many of them appear to violate a ruling by Brazil’s Supreme Court last year that ordered the police to suspend operations during the pandemic, restricting them to “absolutely exceptional” situations.
Rio police killed an average of more than five people a day during the first quarter of 2021, the most lethal start to a year since the state government began regularly releasing such data more than two decades ago, according to the Observatory.