At least 23 people were killed and four others injured following an intense shootout between police and suspected drug traffickers in a favela in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, local police said.
According to reports from the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police, one police officer died as a result of the shootout, while the other 22 people killed were allegedly members of a criminal organisation that dominates the Jacarezinho favela.
The shootout between police and alleged drug traffickers occurred in the early hours of Thursday in the favela, as part of a Civil Police operation against drug trafficking and organised crime in the area, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Audio and videos circulating on social media networks show the intense shootout and detonation of gas bombs in several parts of the favela, while images taken from helicopters show armed people fleeing through the roofs of houses and terraces.
The Jacarezinho favela is home to the so-called Red Command, the largest criminal faction in Rio de Janeiro.
Unlike many of the city's populous slums that sit on the hills, Jacarezinho is in a flat area where criminals have set up barricades to make it difficult for security forces to access.