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Death toll 14 from party massacre

world Updated: Oct 25, 2010 02:23 IST

AFP
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Another victim of Mexico's latest massacre has died of his wounds, bringing to 14 the number killed when gunmen stormed a home in this border city and shot indiscriminately at partygoers, including many teens, officials said.

"There is no known motive for the execution of these 14 people," said Chihuahua state prosecutor Carlos Manuel Salas, and authorities on Sunday feared the death toll could rise, with many of the 19 wounded in the attack fighting for their lives in intensive care units.

The attack, which began about 1:40 am Saturday, was the third such massacre this year in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent city, and it bore the chilling hallmarks of a drug cartel attack.

"The victims were in the back yard of the house having a party when hooded men, in dark uniforms and with rifles, arrived in several vans, broke in and began shooting indiscriminately at those inside," said a police official in this troubled metropolis.

The young gunmen screamed insults as they opened fired on the crowd, according to witnesses, who told the police the hail of bullets went on for five minutes.

Several victims were high school students between the ages of 13 and 17, and at least four women were among the dead.

Ciudad Juarez, with a population of 1.2 million people across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is at the epicenter of a ferocious drug war between two major drug cartels battling for control of lucrative trafficking routes into the United States.

The latest attack occurred in the Horizontes del Sur neighborhood, about two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the site of an eerily similar blood bath in January, when heavily armed gunmen killed 16 youths at a party.

On June 11, 19 people were gunned down in a drug rehabilitation center.

Drug violence has claimed more than 7,000 lives nationwide in 2010, making it the deadliest year since President Felipe Calderon launched a war on drug cartels in 2006.