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Albanian policeman dies in shootout

A shootout in an Albanian village known as a major illegal marijuana production area has left a police officer dead and two others wounded.

Spokesman Ardi Bita said the shots were fired by a suspected criminal gang from a house in the village of Lazarat, 125 miles south of the capital Tirana.

The village was the target of a massive police raid last year to crack down on marijuana production.

The village came to prominence in 2014 after a five-day police siege in which special police forces came under intense fire from automatic weapons and rocket launchers from local homes.

The raid destroyed 102 tons of marijuana and 530,000 marijuana plants with an estimated market value at the time of 6.4 billion euro (£4.5bn) - more than 60% of the country's annual GDP.

Wednesday's shootout came after police stationed in the village stopped a car transporting weapons.

Police had launched an operation in the morning to arrest suspects who had shot at but did not injure policemen stationed in the village overnight.

More police forces are heading to the area, authorities said.


From Belfast Telegraph