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Monkeys attack!

January 28, 1998
Web posted at: 11:20 p.m. EDT (2320 GMT)

ITO, Japan (CNN) -- They may look cute, cuddly and adorably human-like, but the citizens of this central Japanese city know it's wise to bolt their doors against them. In fact, they are warning their children not to even look them in the eye.

The gang of six marauding monkeys appeared in Ito's streets and gardens and attacked people, biting them on their backs and legs.

Some of them even broke into houses.

In all, the attack of the six monkeys left 30 people injured, but the injuries were slight. All the victims received injections to protect them from rabies.

The monkey's raid sounds like the plot of a bad horror movie.

Mad monkeys
video icon 995KB/27 sec./160x120
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Hunters searched for them throughout the town on Wednesday, firing rifles loaded with blanks in an attempt to scare them back into the surrounding mountains.

Authorities also used loudspeakers to warn residents to beware.

Children were sent home from school on Tuesday because of fears the monkeys would attack them. And teachers told schoolchildren not to make eye contact with them.

Why did the primates go on a rampage between Sunday and Tuesday? Were they intent on taking over the town?

Officials believe the attack -- the first of its kind -- was motivated by hunger. They said recent heavy snowfalls may have prompted the monkeys to search for food in the town.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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