October 23, 2010 / 3:20 PM / in 7 years

Gunmen kill 13 at birthday party in Mexico

3 Min Read

<p>Forensic workers carry a body at a crime scene in Ciudad Juarez October 23, 2010.Gael Gonzalez</p>

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - Gunmen sprayed bullets into a family birthday party in the violent Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, killing 13 people and wounding 20, authorities said on Saturday.

It was the second massacre at a party this month in Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas, and is one of the world's most violent cities as drug cartels battle security forces and each other over smuggling routes into the United States.

"I threw myself down on the floor and then a lot of other people piled on top of me," a young man who survived the shooting late on Friday told Reuters, declining to give his name out of fear of reprisals.

The celebration was for a boy's 15th birthday, he said.

At least four of the people killed at the house party were teenagers and a 9-year-old boy was among the wounded, officials said.

"A group of heavily armed men arrived in two minivans. At least 10 men burst into the party," Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for state prosecutors, told the Reforma newspaper.

It was not clear whether the shooting was related to Mexico's drug war, which has killed more than 6,900 people in Ciudad Juarez alone since early 2008.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the shooting, saying it caused "deep outrage."

Calderon is under pressure to show the military-led campaign he launched against the powerful drug cartels in December 2006 is working. With the death toll at nearly 30,000 people over the last four years, Washington and foreign investors are on edge as the violence escalates.

On Saturday, a man used buckets of water and a broom to clean the blood-stained patio where the gunmen opened fire.

"I don't know what happened. I was here with my son, who is a boy," said the man, who declined to be identified.

Earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, gunmen raided a party and killed six people. After that shooting, Calderon flew to the city to inaugurate parks and hospitals as part of the government's plan to increase social spending and rebuild the depressed city.

Writing and additional reporting by Jason Lange in Mexico City; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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