18 killed in Mexican shoot-out

 Eighteen people were killed in a shoot-out Monday between rival armed gangs in Mexico's Tamaulipas state, amid a surge in deadly drug-related crime, the state government said.

Early Monday, "there was a confrontation between two crime groups in the Abasolo town center, in which 18 people died," the Tamaulipas state government said in a brief statement on its website.

Tamaulipas, on the border with the US state of Texas and along highly lucrative drug trade routes, has been rocked in the past year by the drug violence surging across Mexico.

Locally, the bloodshed is blamed on clashes between the once-allied Gulf and Zetas cartels.

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