A massacre at a drug rehab center last week helped push the number of homicides in the Mexican border city of Juarez to more than 800 this year as rival drug gangs battle for turf.
On Wednesday a commando-style group fired a barrage of more than 60 rounds during a religious service at the drug rehab center, killing eight and wounding five. Five other people were killed elsewhere in the city on that day.
More than 100 people have been killed so far in August in the war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels, which broke out in January, the El Paso Times reports.
The homicide rate in Juarez, a city of nearly 2 million that is just across the border from El Paso, Tex., now stands at about 3.5 murders a day.
“If you wanted to see what terrorism is like, you are looking at it full-fledged over there,” El Paso police Chief Greg Allen told The Times.
“People are getting killed in broad daylight in front of everyone.”
Allen said the threat of drug violence spilling across the border into El Paso is slight. The city has had 12 homicides this year.
But the U.S. government is bringing Mexican casualties from the conflict to hospitals north of the border and paying for medical treatment. El Paso’s Thomason Hospital has treated 28 victims of the Mexican drug war this year, at a cost to taxpayers of about $1 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Howard Campbell, an anthropology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who has researched drug trafficking, said: “The Mexican government so far has been unable to control or stop the violence.”
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