Gunmen broke into a drug rehabilitation center, lined people against a wall and shot 17 dead in a particularly bloody day in Mexico's relentless drug war. The brazen attack followed the killing of the No. 2 security official in President Felipe Calderon's home state.
The attackers on Wednesday broke down the door of El Aliviane center in Ciudad Juarez, lined up their victims against a wall and opened fire, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the regional prosecutors' office. At least five people were injured.
Authorities had no immediate suspects or information on the victims. Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, is Mexico's most violent city, with at least 1,400 people killed this year alone, The Associated Press reports.
The attack was one of the deadliest in President Felipe Calderon's three-year war against drug cartels, despite the presence of 10,000 troops and federal police in Ciudad Juarez who constantly patrol the city's streets.
The suspected hitmen stormed their way into the drug and alcohol rehab clinic in Ciudad Juarez and forced patients into a line in a corridor before shooting them, the army and the El Diario newspaper said.
"Armed men shot at about 20 people, killing 17 of them and injuring three," said army spokesman Enrique Torres.
In a separate attack on Wednesday, gunmen killed the deputy police chief in Calderon's home state of Michoacan in western Mexico.
U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged full support for Calderon's drug war but the $1.4 billion promised to Mexico in 2007 to help fight the powerful cartels is only trickling in, with $214 million so far released for equipment and training, Reuters informs.