People are evacuated with an armoured vehicle near a police checkpoint in Kumanovo Balenciaga Triple S Womens Sale , Macedonia May 9, 2015. REUTERSOgnen Teofilovski A Macedonian policeman speaks to a man near a police checkpoint in Kumanovo, Macedonia May 9, 2015. REUTERSOgnen Teofilovski A Macedonian police armoured personnel carrier drives past premises in Kumanovo, north of the capital Skopje www.balenciagatriplessale.com , Macedonia May 9, 2015. REUTERSOgnen Teofilovski
KUMANOVO, Macedonia - Five police officers died and dozens were wounded in a daylong gun battle in an ethnic Albanian suburb of northern Macedonia on Saturday, adding the threat of armed conflict to a deep political crisis rocking the ex-Yugoslav republic.
The Balkan country's interior ministry said an unspecified number of gunmen were also killed, but that it had no information on civilian casualties during clashes that began before dawn and stretched into the evening.
Police said that acting on information about an "armed group" they had launched an operation in an ethnic Albanian district of the northern town of Kumanovo 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital Skopje. The region saw heavy fighting during an ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001.
Units of special police in armored vehicles locked down the neighborhood and helicopters circled overhead. A Reuters photographer reported hearing heavy automatic gunfire and loud explosions. Black smoke rose over the town and residents were seen leaving the area carrying belongings.
The events will deepen concern in the West over stability in Macedonia Balenciaga Triple S Trainers Sale , where the government is on the ropes over allegations by the main opposition, the Social Democrats, of illegal wire-tapping and widespread abuse of office.
Protesters demanding the resignation of conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski clashed with police this week and the opposition is threatening to rally thousands on May 17.
Observers fear political leaders on either side may try to stoke ethnic tensions as leverage.
"The situation on the ground remains highly critical," Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska told a news conference. She said some gunmen had surrendered, without saying how many.
"The action will continue until every last terrorist is caught Balenciaga Triple S Shoes Sale ," Jankulovska said.
A ministry spokesman, Ivo Kotevski, said the group was planning "terrorist acts" and had "infiltrated" the country from a neighboring state, without saying which.
Macedonia's neighbors are Albania, Greece Balenciaga Triple S Sale , Kosovo, Serbia and Bulgaria, and Macedonia has previously identified armed men in the country as coming from Kosovo.
Opposition leader Zoran Zaev, who has been releasing damaging wire-taps he says were recorded by the government and leaked to him by a whistleblower, appeared to suggest Saturday's operation was carried out to create a diversion.
"I call on Nikola Gruevski to immediately ... explain who wants to destabilize Macedonia Men's Nike Tri Fusion Run MSL Black Anthracite White Sale , why and with what purpose," he said in a statement.
"This dark scenario will not work. The citizens see who has an interest in such a scenario."
An estimated 30 percent of Macedonia's 2 million people are ethnic Albanians. Guerrillas took up arms in 2001, clashing with security forces before the West brokered a peace deal offering the Albanian minority greater rights and representation and the insurgents entered government.
But implementation has been slow and tensions sometimes flare. Many citizens, regardless of ethnicity, are frustrated at the glacial pace of development and integration with the West. Macedonia's bid to join the European Union and NATO is blocked by a long-running dispute with Greece over the country's name.
"I thought it would never come to this again Men's Nike SB Trainerendor Leather Obsidian White Sale ," an unidentified ethnic Albanian man told Macedonian television on the outskirts of Kumanovo. "It's so scary, we can't stay here."
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (center) and forward Kevin Love (left) and guard Dwyane Wade sit on the bench against the Washington Wizards during the first half of their preseason NBA game at Capital One Arena in Washington DC on October 8, 2017.
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After toying with other lineup combinations, Cavs coach Tryonn Lue said on Monday that Wade will start at shooting guard alongside Derrick Rose in Cleveland's remodeled backcourt. Wade recently signed a one-year contract with the Cavs, reuniting with LeBron James in Cleveland after the two superstars spent four seasons together in Miami.
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