A shootout in Rio de Janeiro involving Brazilian police and drug traffickers has left at least 25 people killed, including a cop.

The civil police’s press office confirmed the death of the cop and 24 alleged “criminals" during the raid on Thursday, reported the Associated Press.

Suspects tried to flee by leaping from roof to roof as police in armored vehicles entered the slum in Jacarezinho in northern Rio de Janeiro. Three policemen were struck during the shootout and one died. Some of the bullets fired also hit two passengers on a nearby metro train, said the fire brigade, reported Sky News.

In fact, service on a subway line was temporarily suspended “due to intense shooting in the region,” read a statement from the company that runs it.

About 10 suspects have been arrested.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the city's Civil Police said announced "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."

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Paying tribute to the officer, the post said that "he honored the profession he loved and will be missed." It continued, "The action was based on concrete intelligence and investigation information. 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 organizations do not strengthen themselves."

The police said that the aim of the operation was to investigate the recruitment of teenagers to hijack trains and commit other crimes. They said that the criminal gang has a "warlike structure of soldiers equipped with rifles, grenades, bulletproof vests, pistols, camouflaged clothing and other military accessories."

Observatory director Silvio Ramos said that this raid was among the deadliest in the city's recent history.

Police chief Ronaldo Oliveira said, "This is the largest number of deaths in a police operation in Rio, surpassing 19 at Complexo do Alemao slum in 2007 - except we did not lose one of ours in that action.

"Now, a police officer has died, which is a great loss for us," he added.

Felipe Curi, a detective in Rio’s civil police, said that no suspects were killed.

"They were all traffickers or criminals who tried to take the lives of our police officers and there was no other alternative,” he said during a press conference.

One woman claimed that she saw police kill an injured man whom she described as helpless and unarmed who they found after he had fled into her house. Human Rights Watch Brazil said that the public prosecutor should investigate possible police abuses.

Representation image. pixabay

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