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Mexican gang attacks target police
Drug cartels blamed for apparently co-ordinated assaults in Guadalajara besides two northern cities.
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2011 01:49 GMT
Gang members torched a bus with Molotov cocktails and used it as a roadblock in Guadalajara [Reuters]

Suspected drug cartel members have hurled grenades, burned vehicles and blocked streets in a rapid series of attacks in Mexico's second-largest city among other places.

The seven attacks, which took place in Guadalajara within two hours late on Tuesday, appeared to have been co-ordinated, and were staged by drug gangs, possibly in retaliation for the arrests of their members, according to Fernando Guzman Perez, interior secretary of Jalisco state, where Guadalajara is located.

A policeman and two transportation workers were injured in the attacks.

"This is an orchestrated attack by criminal forces," Perez said.

"There have been arrests ... of people linked to these cells of organised crime, and perhaps it was because of those detentions that attacks over the past few hours broke out."

Assailants hurled a grenade at a police station and burned a bus and commuter trains to block streets, injuring transportation workers who tried to resist, he said.

Other attacks took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in the northern cities of Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city, and Zacatecas, resulting in several deaths.

Marines targeted

In the wealthy Monterrey suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia on Wednesday, attackers fired upon a group of Mexican marines who were responding to reports of illicit activity at an apartment complex, the Mexican navy said in a statement.

The marines returned fire, killing four suspected attackers, the navy said.

A series of attacks in Monterrey on Tuesday left a federal police officer and three suspected cartel members dead and three police officers injured, according to Jorge Domene, public security spokesman for the state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located.

The suspected cartel members erected roadblocks to aid their escape, and hurled a grenade at a police checkpoint that caused a patrol car to explode. In one of the assaults, attackers driving a black 4WD vehicle opened fire on police officers in a patrol car in the suburb of Monterrey Apodaca, killing one and wounding three.

Earlier on Tuesday, assailants hurled a grenade at a municipal police checkpoint in Monterrey, but the officers were able to get out of their patrol car before it exploded. It was the third time a grenade has been thrown at checkpoints in Monterrey since they were set up last month.

The checkpoints are meant to monitor suspicious activity and combat vehicle theft, but have become easy targets for the cartels.

Bloodiest month

In a separate Monterrey suburb on Tuesday, three suspected drug gang members were killed in a shootout with federal police, Manuel Jesus Uco Limon, the police commander, said.

January was the bloodiest month of drug violence in recent history in Monterrey. According to public security office figures, more than 120 people were killed as a result of organised crime, including 21 police officers.

In Zacatecas on Tuesday, attackers opened fire on state police officers who had arrived after receiving a tip that armed men were parked outside an office-supply store, the state government said in a statement Wednesday.

Two bystanders, a man and a boy, suffered non-life-threatening wounds in the firefight, the statement said.

As in Monterrey, the assailants hijacked vehicles and used them to block streets to aid their escape. Two suspects were arrested.

Source:
Agencies
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