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Seven dead in latest Mexico massacre

world Updated: Oct 29, 2010 02:26 IST

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At least seven people were shot dead today in a crowded and dangerous area of the Mexican capital, officials said, marking the fourth massacre in a week in a nation marred by a rising tide of violence linked to the drug trade.

"We have a figure of seven dead. We have launched an investigation" into the killings, said Miguel Angel Mancera of the city's attorney general's office.

Early reports said today's killings in Tepito, a neighbourhood infested by illicit sex and drugs trades in Mexico City, occurred before dawn when gunmen drove past a group of young people gathered in the street and started shooting at them.

The victims, all in their twenties, were killed in an apparent "dispute" between criminal gangs, and police were looking at video to see if any clues could be gleaned about the attackers, Mancera said.

Mexico has been rocked by violence in recent years as drug cartels engage in a blistering and bloody fight for control of lucrative trafficking routes to the United States, the world's biggest consumer of cocaine.

Drug violence has claimed more than 7,000 lives nationwide so far this year, making it the deadliest year since President Felipe Calderon launched his campaign against organised crime in 2006. Most of the killings are in northern Mexico.