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10 killed in Mexico shootout


Ten alleged drug cartel members were killed in a clash with Mexican soldiers in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which borders the United States, the Mexican army said Saturday.

Soldiers on patrol Friday in a rural area near the border area of Valle Hermoso found a camp of armed men, who opened fire on them.

In the shootout "10 presumed aggressors were killed," the Secretariat of National Defense said in a statement.

At the camp the soldiers found a rocket launcher, some 20 grenades, two grenade launchers, 24 rifles and a handgun, the statement read.

The Mexican government sent thousands of soldiers and police in November to crack down on drug trafficking violence and strengthen security in Tamaulipas and the nearby border state of Nuevo Leon.

At least three groups -- the Zetas, the Sinaloa and the Gulf drug cartels -- have been battling for control of area smuggling routes into the lucrative US market, and control of the local northeastern Mexico drug markets, officials said.

In the past months there have been several gun battles in Tamaulipas between armed criminals and the military.

And in November, some 400 residents of the Tamaulipas state border town of Ciudad Mier fled the town fearing drug violence.

Earlier, the candidate favored to win the office of state governor was gunned down before the July elections.

In August, the Zetas were blamed for the slaughter of 72 undocumented migrants from Central America who were heading to the United States.