Authorities in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday launched a massive air and ground operation in a score of shantytown neighborhoods known as “favelas” on the outskirts of the city to counter a rise in violence.
The operation began after a series of attacks by armed criminals on Saturday and continued into early Tuesday, resulting in the death of a police officer and the destruction of four police vehicles, reported Argentina’s El Clarín.. In response, 1,200 police invaded the Vila Cruzeiro and surrounding neighborhoods early Wednesday. After engaging in several fierce gun battles, two gunmen were killed and ten men were arrested, four of whom were in the possession of firebombs.
In the aftermath of the clashes, Brazilian police officers seized weapons including a grenade and an automatic rifle. A police spokesman said that in addition to the police vehucles, at least four buses and 10 cars were burned in Rio’s poorer northern and western areas overnight — bringing the total to 22 attacks and 23 burned vehicles since Sunday.