Mexican cartel petrol bombs a packed nightclub killing 23 people and injuring 13 amid fears of new drug gang war
- At least 23 people were killed after the fire broke out in a bar in southern Mexico
- Thirteen others were left seriously injured following the blaze on Tuesday night
- Governor of Veracruz Cuitlahuac Garcia suggested a gang dispute was involved
- Police identified the establishment as the Bar Caballo Blanco in Coatzacoalcos
A suspected arson attack on a bar in southern Mexico on Tuesday night has killed 23 people and injured 13.
The attackers started a vicious blaze that ripped through Caballo Blanco bar in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, killing eight women and 15 men.
State police are investigating a possible arson attack, which may have been started with petrol bombs, and said the search for the attackers continues.
Governor of Veracruz Cuitlahuac Garcia suggested that a gang dispute was involved in the blaze.
The attack, along with the killing of 19 people in the western city of Uruapan earlier this month, is likely to renew fears that the public violence of the 2006-2012 drug war has returned.
View of the interior of the bar Caballo Blanco after an attack in Cotzacoalcos, Mexico, on Tuesday night
Relatives of victims react as they wait for news at the entrance to the Mexican bar on Tuesday
‘In Veracruz, criminal gangs are no longer tolerated,’ Garcia wrote of the attack, adding police, the armed forces and newly formed National Guard are searching for the culprits.
‘The devious crime of a few moments ago in Coatzacoalcos will not go unpunished’, he continued in a tweet.
The state attorney general’s office condemned ‘what may constitute a malicious attack.’
Photos of the scene showed a wrecked interior with chairs overturned and debris littering the floor, and emergency vehicles and police outside the building.
There was no immediate information on the condition of the injured.
Agents from the National Guard on watch at the entrance to the bar. The search for the attackers continues, the Governor of Veracruz said
Governor of Veracruz Cuitlahuac Garcia suggested on his Twitter account that a gang dispute was involved in the blaze
State attorney general’s office (pictured) condemned ‘what may constitute a malicious attack’
Citing reports, The Los Angeles Times said Molotov cocktails had been thrown into the bar.
It is located in a storefront on a busy commercial street in Coatzacoalcos, a city whose main industry has long been oil and oil refining.
The attack came almost eight years to the day after a fire started in 2011 at a casino in the northern city of Monterrey killed 52 people. The Zetas drug cartel staged that attack to enforce demands for protection payments.
The Zetas, now splintered, have also been active in Coatzacoalcos.
Veracruz is one of the most violent regions of Mexico. Drug trafficking routes to the United States pass through it, and bloody battles frequently erupt between rival drug gangs.