11 dead in attack on casino in northern Mexico
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) — Gunmen burst into a casino in the northern city of Monterrey on Thursday and doused the premises with a flammable liquid, starting a fire that killed at least 11 people and left a dozen injured, authorities said.
The fire at the Casino Royale in Mexico's third largest city represented one of the deadliest attacks against an entertainment center in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006.
State police officials initially said witnesses reported hearing three explosions before the fire started, but later said that a flammable material was used. The officials were not authorized to be quoted by name for security reasons.
The reports of explosions may have been the sound of the ignition of the liquid.
The casino building was engulfed in dense smoke following the attack, and firefighters and emergency personnel treated victims for smoke inhalation.
While there was no immediate information linking the attack to drug cartels, Monterrey has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Gulf cartels in recent months.
The Nuevo Leon state police officials said at least two men drove up in front of the casino, carried out the attack and fled.