Eleven bank robbers shot dead in Brazil

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Eleven bank robbers were shot dead Thursday after Brazilian military police busted a gang trying to blow up ATM machines near Sao Paulo, officials said.

Police arrested one assailant and a manhunt is still under way for the rest after they fled two banks in Guararema municipality, 80 kilometres northeast of Brazil’s biggest city, the Sao Paulo state government said in a statement.

Some of the fleeing attackers forced their way into a house where they held the occupants hostage. The hostages were later freed by police.

Around 25 assailants were involved in the early morning raid, according to the statement.

Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria congratulated the police for sending “more than 10 gangsters to the cemetery,” in remarks to GloboNews TV.

During a search of the area, police found seven rifles, four pistols, explosives and bulletproof vests.

Brazilian TV showed one of the banks targeted by the gang was located next to a police station. The other bank was at the end of the same street.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took power in January vowing to get tough on crime in a country where nearly 64,000 murders a year are committed.