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 Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez reports from Monterrey, where turf battles and rampant drug gang violence are common

Six people have been killed in Mexico after men armed with assault rifles opened fire at a family party in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

Mexican police said on Saturday that the men entered through the back of the house, surprising the guests.

Adrian Sanchez, a spokesman for the Ciudad Juarez municipal police, said the attack occurred on Friday night, near the centre of the city. Two men died from the hail of gunfire at the house, while another three men and a woman died in hospital from their wounds, he said.

Ciudad Juarez, which borders the US city of El Paso, in Texas, is a battleground for drug cartels vying for shipping routes into the US. More than 6,800 people have been killed in there since early 2008.

Elsewhere in Mexico, four people died in the affluent city of Monterrey during a shootout between marines and suspected drug cartel members.

Mexican authorities said on Friday that one marine and three suspected drug gang members were killed in the violence. Three marines were also wounded.

The armed men had opened fire and thrown grenades at a marine patrol on a highway on the outskirts of town late on Thursday, a statement from the Mexican navy said. Gang members then used buses and other vehicles to block major streets in the city during the clash.

Until recently, Monterrey was known as one of the country's safest and richest areas. But its profile of modern skyscrapers and high-tech education has been marred by escalating drug violence.

Source: Agencies