Eight police officers and 14 members of an “armed group” were killed in a day-long gun battle in an ethnic Albanian suburb of northern Macedonia, the government said on Sunday, violence that added a dangerous twist to months of political crisis.

Sporadic gunfire on Sunday, more than 24 hours after the police operation began, subsided by early afternoon and flat-bed trucks towed away several lightly-damaged armoured vehicles.

The suburb in Kumanovo, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital Skopje in a region that saw heavy fighting during an ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001, remained locked down by special police units.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski told a news conference 37 police officers were also wounded. He said no civilians were reported killed.

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