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Rio Slum Gangs Challenge Brazilian Army

Brazilian drug gangs have stepped up their resistance to an army operation in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, clashing with troops during daylight hours.

The two sides exchanged gunfire, with gangs lobbing grenades, in the downtown Providencia shantytown Friday.

A man, woman and young boy were wounded by fragments during the battle.

The army launched the show of force one week ago in response to the theft of 11 weapons from a military barracks.

About 1,500 troops have been mobilized in several slum areas.

While residents from other areas have welcomed the security crackdown, critics have questioned the use of the military in a police role and slum dwellers have complained their lives have been disrupted.

Rio is one of the world's most violent cities. Its slums are often the scene of gang and drug-related violence that kills hundreds of people each year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.