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22 killed in Mexico drug shootouts

15 alleged drug traffickers and 2 civilians are killed in a shootout with police in Mexico after gunmen killed five police in an earlier attack.

world Updated: May 17, 2007 10:10 IST

Fifteen alleged drug traffickers and two civilians were killed on Wednesday in a shootout with police in Mexico after gunmen killed five police in an earlier attack, officials said.

The clashes took place in the northwest state of Sonora between police and around 50 armed men traveling in a dozen or so vehicles, a spokesman at the state attorney's office said.

"A total of 15 assassins are dead. During the clashes the body of a kidnapped policeman was found, in addition to four city police from Cananea who were killed" earlier in the morning, Jose Larrinaga said.

"We also found the bodies of two civilians who had also been kidnapd in the morning," he said, adding that four other people were set free after being kidnapped.

Around 900 people have been killed so far this year as Mexican authorities battle powerful drug cartels.