July 4, 2020 / 3:28 AM / a month ago

Mexican soldiers kill 12 in cartel clash near border

MONTERREY (Reuters) - Mexican soldiers killed 12 alleged drug cartel members wearing military gear in the violent border city of Nuevo Laredo on Friday, Tamaulipas state security officials said, in another instance of mass murders that have driven Mexico’s homicides.

Officials said armed gunmen clad in military-style uniforms attacked soldiers from the 16th Regiment in a neighborhood near the airport around dawn. The military seized eight AR-15 type weapons, one AK47, and two .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles at the scene, officials said in a statement.

Images published by local news outlets appeared to show corpses piled in the back of a pickup truck and lying on a roadside in pools of blood.

A thirteenth man was found dead later in the day, according to officials, who said his death was related to the early-morning confrontation in Nuevo Laredo, opposite the city of Laredo in Texas.

Local news outlets reported the victims were likely members of the Cartel of the Northeast, a regional gang that is a remnant of the once-powerful Zetas cartel.

The military has not said whether any of its soldiers were injured or killed in the clash.

Homicides in Mexico hit a new record last year and are trending higher still in 2020. 

Also on Friday, five police officers were killed in the central state of Guanajuato, the state’s security secretary said.

On Wednesday, gunmen killed 27 people at a drug rehabilitation facility in another part of Guanajuato in one of the worst mass killings since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office 19 months ago pledging to reduce record levels of violence.

Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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