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A Mexican prison in the northern city of Juarez, close to the border with the US, has been attacked by armed assailants, leaving at least 14 dead. Authorities confirmed another two people died during another assault later elsewhere in the city.
Members of the Mexican Army have been sent to Cesero Number 3 state prison after the incident, in which unknown attackers entered the building and freed a number of inmates.
The Chihuahua state prosecutor released a statement revealing that amongst the dead were 10 security personnel and four inmates.
Another 13 were injured in the attack while at least 24 escaped.
Thus far it is not clear who carried out the attack.
According to the prosecutor, initial investigations determined that the attackers arrived at the building around 7am local time (2pm GMT) on New Year’s Day in armoured vehicles and started shooting.
Minutes before an attack had been reported against municipal police, with four men being captured and a truck seized following a chase.
Elsewhere in Juarez another two drivers died following a reported “armed aggression”, reported Reuters.
The state prosecutor has not confirmed that the three incidents are related.
In August Mexican soldiers were also sent to Juarez after a prison face-off between two rival cartels sparked a riot.
In the shootouts that followed 11 people died, most of them civilians.
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In the same month other border cities including Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito and Ensenada were struck by incidents of gang violence, including car fires and road blockades.
The cartels were accused of targeting innocent civilians and local businesses in response to disputes or attempts to capture gang members.
Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero appealed to the gangs to stop targeting innocent bystanders in their attacks.
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