At least seven people were killed and 12 others injured in Guatemala's largest hospital as attackers stormed with guns blazing Wednesday to free an imprisoned gang member, officials said.
Carlos Soto, director of Roosevelt Hospital in the capital, said an unknown number of gunmen entered the facility in the morning and began shooting, reports AP.
The jailed suspect, who had been taken to the hospital for lab tests, disappeared during the chaos.
Deputy hospital director Marco Antonio Barrientos told reporters that 12 people were wounded, including a child who underwent surgery and was in critical condition.
"The law doesn't consider it, but they are acts of terrorism," President Jimmy Morales said at a news conference. He said he would send police and soldiers to bolster security at hospitals.
Police spokesman Jorge Aguilar said there were at least six deaths and five arrests. The hospital later raised the death toll to seven. Officers searched the hospital room by room.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the attack was staged to free a gang member identified as Anderson Daniel Cabrera Cifuentes.
"We believe he is the leader of a gang cell," Aguilar said.
Cabrera, 29, who was not listed among the people in custody, had been brought to the hospital by three guards from prison on a judge's order. Two of his guards were killed and one was wounded, according to a statement from the prison system.