01:06 - Source: CNN
5 police officers killed in Macedonia clashes

Story highlights

Authorities have not said how many "terrorists" were killed

They did not say who the target group was or what ethnicity they have

The town where raid took place is home to many minority ethnic Albanians

Skopje, Macedonia CNN  — 

Gun battles in a Balkan city with a history of ethnic tensions took the lives of five police officers, Macedonian authorities said.

At least 30 other officers were wounded in the clashes that erupted during a police raid early Saturday on a group of roughly 70 “terrorists” in the town of Kumanovo, Macedonia, the country’s internal affairs ministry said.

Black smoke rose over Kumanovo, a northern city situated 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the capital, Skopje, as the nattering of automatic gunfire filled the air. Fortified transporters evacuated residents out the area of the clashes.

Sporadic gunfire continued early Sunday.

Macedonia authorities didn’t mention the number of casualties among the group police targeted, which it accused of plotting attacks on government institutions.

Kumanovo is home to minority ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslim. Macedonia is majority Orthodox Christian.

Albanian insurgents battled against the central government in 2001.

Ethnic Macedonians became angry over the ceasefire agreement that ended the fighting and held violent protests that resulted in the President at the time, Boris Trajkovski, was evacuated.

The ministry did not say who the “terrorists” authorities raided on Saturday were, nor if they were ethnic Albanians.

Some of the raid’s targets surrendered during the first wave of the assault, the internal affairs ministry said. When police launched a second wave, fighting intensified, leading to the officers’ deaths and injuries.

Journalist Vladimir Gjuzelov reported from Skopje, and CNN’s Ben Brumfield wrote from Atlanta.