5 Mexican soldiers die in drug shootout

Five soldiers, including a colonel, and a suspected drug cartel enforcer were killed in a shootout in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, which has been plagued by drug violence and is the target of a military-led anti-drug offensive.

5 Mexican soldiers die in drug shootout
Five soldiers, including a colonel, and a suspected drug cartel enforcer were killed in a shootout in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, which has been plagued by drug violence and is the target of a military-led anti-drug offensive.

More than a dozen suspected Zetas — a group of Gulf cartel hit men that includes former soldiers — threw grenades and opened fire on the troops late Tuesday in Caracuaro, 120 miles west of Mexico City, police spokesman Miguel Covarrubias said Wednesday.

The Defense Ministry said five soldiers were killed but declined to give further details or confirm media reports that at least four more were wounded. A suspected Zeta was also killed, local authorities said.

Authorities blame the Gulf cartel for beheadings and other killings in a turf war with rival gangs in Michoacan.

President Felipe Calderon sent his condolences to the soldiers' families on Wednesday. "It is very clear they died like heroes and they will be treated and remembered as heroes," he said.

Later Wednesday, Calderon and about 2,000 soldiers attended a memorial ceremony for the slain soldiers held at a military base in Mexico City.

Calderon has sent some 6,000 soldiers to Michoacan as part of a nationwide anti-drug crackdown involving more than 20,000 agents.

More than 900 people have died so far this year from drug violence in Mexico, according to the Mexico City newspaper Milenio. Authorities have declined to give an official count.

Also Wednesday, fishermen in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco discovered a bullet-riddled body accompanied by a cardboard sign threatening more killings, city official Bulmaro Carrasco said.
Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2007, 11:59
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