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22 killed in Macedonia gun battle

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By Euronews
22 killed in Macedonia gun battle

<p>Eight police officers and 14 members of an armed group have been killed after a day-long gun battle in the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (<span class="caps">FYROM</span>).</p> <p>The interior ministry said the 44 member group, who are all citizens of Kosovo, entered the country about a week earlier with the aim of launching attacks on state institutions.</p> <p>Interior ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski said 37 police officers were also reported wounded in the battle.</p> <p>He added that “One of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the Balkans has been neutralised.”</p> <p>The fighting took place in the ethnically Albanian suburb of Kumanovo to the north of the capital Skopje.</p> <p><span class="caps">FYROM</span> is grappling with its deepest political crisis since gaining independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991.</p> <p>Some people believe the government and opposition are willing to provoke ethic clashes in a bid to deliberately destabilise the country and leverage power.</p> <p>Kumanovo was the centre of hostilities between Albanian rebels and government forces in 2001.</p> <p>That conflict, in which 80 people died, ended after six months with a peace deal that gave more rights to ethnic Albanians.</p>