updated 4/3/2008 9:59:45 PM ET 2008-04-04T01:59:45

Police killed at least 14 people in shootouts in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, including 10 suspected gang members who were gunned down in a raid on the city's west side, officials said.

About 120 officers raided the Coreia shantytown in western Rio to arrest the leader of a drug gang, said a police spokesman who declined to be named in line with department policy.

Three suspects were arrested, but the gang leader police were seeking escaped, he said.

Police said they found the bodies of 10 suspected gang members and seized guns and drugs.

Earlier Thursday, police killed an alleged car thief and three suspected drug dealers in shootouts in the poor Rio suburb of Nova Iguacu.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most violent cities with frequent shootouts between police and drug gangs and an annual homicide rate of around 50 per 100,000.

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