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Brazilian police invade gang haven

Brazilian police have started invading a Rio de Janeiro shantytown complex long held by traffickers, slowly moving their way through small alleys amid heavy gunfire.

Black-clad police officers from elite units began entering the Alemao slum complex, with TV images showing police helicopters flying low to support the men on the ground as hundreds of drug gang members tried to hold their position.

The face-off comes after a week of widespread violence in Rio, with more than 100 cars and buses set on fire and at least 35 deaths, mostly of suspected traffickers.

Hundreds of soldiers on armed vehicles were also in place to support the operation, seen as a key move in a long-standing campaign to push criminals out of slums where they have long ruled with impunity.

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