Car bomb es­ca­lates Mex­i­can drug war

car bomb, ris­ing grenade use worsen car­tel vi­o­lence

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION - By Ali­cia A. Cald­well and E. Ed­uardo Castillo

JUÁREZ, Chi­huahua — A drug car­tel has used a car bomb for the first time in Mex­ico’s decades-long fight against traf­fick­ers, set­ting a deadly trap against fed­eral po­lice in a city across the border from Texas, the mayor of Juárez said Fri­day.

Mayor Jose Reyes said fed­eral po­lice have con­firmed to him that a car bomb was used in the at­tack that killed three peo­ple Thurs­day.

It was the first time a drug car­tel has used a bomb to at­tack Mex­i­can se­cu­rity forces, mark­ing an es­ca­la­tion in the coun­try’s rag­ing drug war.

Fed­eral po­lice and paramedics were lured to the scene by a phone call re­port­ing that shots were fired at a ma­jor in­ter­sec­tion and that a po­lice of­fi­cer lay wounded, Reyes said.

As the paramedics were help­ing the wounded man, a parked car ex­ploded, he said.

Reyes said au­thor­i­ties later de­ter­mined that the wounded man wasn’t a po­lice of­fi­cer, al­though he was wear­ing a fake uni­form. The man died in the blast, along with a fed­eral po­lice of­fi­cer and a med­i­cal tech­ni­cian.

Brig. Gen. Ed­uardo Zarate said that up to 22 pounds of ex­plo­sives might have been A po­lice of­fi­cer runs af­ter a car bomb at­tack Thurs­day evening on po­lice and paramedics in the Mex­i­can city of Juárez. The blast killed three peo­ple, in­clud­ing a po­lice­man. used, al­though in­ves­ti­ga­tors were still try­ing to de­ter­mine what type.

He said the bomb might have been det­o­nated re­motely with a cell phone.

Fed­eral po­lice said the at­tack was in re­tal­i­a­tion for the ar­rest of a top leader of the drug gang La Linea, Jesús Acosta Guer­rero, ear­lier in the day.

The car bomb demon­strates the grow­ing bold­ness and mil­i­tary so­phis­ti­ca­tion of Mex­ico’s drug traf­fick­ers.

“We have to change the way we op­er­ate,” Reyes warned. “We’ve started chang­ing all our pro­to­cols to in­clude bomb

sit­u­a­tions.” the grenades con­fis­cated and traced in Mex­ico are more than 20 years old.

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