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At least 14 killed in Mexico attacks

  • Story Highlights
  • Nine drug cartel suspects and three police officers die in gunbattles, authorities say
  • Two shootouts occur in central Mexican state of Hidalgo
  • Drug suspects reportedly started shooting when police searched for missing agents
  • Two killed in attacks on police stations in Guanajuato state
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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- A series of attacks and gunbattles between Mexican drug cartel suspects and police left at least 14 people dead and 22 wounded Thursday night, officials and news reports said.

Nine cartel suspects and three police officers died in two ferocious gunbattles in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo, federal official Jose Alberto Rodriguez Calderon said.

Another four police were wounded, the government-run Notimex news agency said. El Excelsior newspaper put that figure at 10 agents wounded.

Separately, grenade and heavy-weapon attacks on law enforcement installations in two cities in Guanajuato state killed a civilian and a police agent and wounded 18 others, news reports said.

The Hidalgo shootouts started when state police searching for several federal agents reported missing found them alive and safe near an auto racetrack in the Mineral de la Reforma municipality, Rodriguez Calderon was quoted as saying in Notimex. Almost immediately after police found the agents, drug suspects nearby started shooting.

A simultaneous shootout occurred in the city of La Calera, also in the Mineral de la Reforma municipality, the news agency said. Police were attacked with hand grenades in that confrontation, leaving two officers dead. A third officer died later in a hospital.

The nine drug suspects were killed in La Calera, Rodriguez Calderon said.

Each firefight lasted 20 minutes.

AC360: The war next door
This week on "Anderson Cooper 360," Michael Ware reports from Mexico on the gruesome tactics used by drug cartels. Friday: The cartels are branching out into other businesses, including smuggling humans.
Friday, 10 p.m. ET

Officials confiscated 1.2 million pesos (more than $92,000), 3 kilograms of cocaine (6.6 pounds), six AK-47 assault rifles, an Uzi submachine gun, two hand grenades, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, four luxury vehicles, 12 cell phones, 11 bullet-proof vests and seven handcuffs, Rodriguez Calderon said.

No arrests were made, and one suspect got away, the federal official said.

In Guanajuato state, also in central Mexico, gunmen attacked police stations in the cities of Silao and Irapuato, El Correo newspaper reported.

In Silao, at least 20 heavily armed hooded men riding in three dark trucks carried out the attacks, the newspaper said. The attackers first launched three grenades against a police station and then fired with AK-47 and R-15 assault rifles, littering the ground with hundreds of spent shells.

That attack killed two people.

Ten of the wounded were reported to be gravely injured and were transferred to the nearby city of Léon.

The assault also damaged 15 vehicles, five of which caught on fire.

Thursday's attacks on police installations resembled assaults last month in a half-dozen cities in Michoacan state. Those attacks were attributed to La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, which was accused of torturing and killing 12 off-duty federal agents around the same time and dumping their bodies on a remote road.

Federal police have arrested at least 10 members of La Familia, including some top leaders, since the July 13 killings. The killings and the attacks on police installations were among reprisals by La Familia after the federal police captured one of their top leaders, authorities said.

An unprecedented wave of violence has washed over Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels shortly after coming into office in December 2006. More than 10,000 people have died in that time span, about 1,000 of them police.

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