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  1. ITV Report

At least 12 people killed in two bank heists in north-east Brazil

Military police in the north-eastern state of Ceara say the attempted heists began in the city of Milagres. Credit: Google Maps

At least 12 people have been killed during two attempted bank robberies in the north-eastern Brazil, authorities have said.

Military police in the state of Ceara say the attempted heists began on Friday at around 2.30am in the downtown area of the city of Milagres.

The robbers at one bank had taken several people hostage when police surrounded the area.

A firefight broke out, leaving several dead. Authorities have yet to identify the dead.

It is unclear at this stage whether the two robberies are connected.

The mayor of Milagres told local media that two children, between 10 and 13 years old, were killed.

It is not immediately clear how the hostages were taken.

Latin America's largest nation routinely is the world leader in total annual murders.

Ceara is one of the country's most violent states.