Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Friday declared three days of mourning for his country after 52 people were killed in a Monterrey casino fire set by gunmen thought to be members of a drug cartel.

At least eight men were said to have carried out the attack, dousing the Casino Royale with gasoline before setting it ablaze. Many of the victims died in restrooms, trapped there by the fire apparently after fleeing from the gunmen.

Calderon said it was the worst attack on civilians in Mexico in a long while. President Barack Obama denounced the violence as “barbaric.”

On Saturday, in a possible but curious response to the attack, the Mexican army raided five Monterrey casinos, confiscating hundreds of slot machines. –BF

The Associated Press:

The victims this time weren’t cartel foot soldiers or even migrants resisting forced recruitment by gangs, as were the cases in other attacks. Instead, they were working or gambling at the Casino Royale in an affluent part of this industrial city Thursday when at least eight assailants burst into the building and set it on fire, trapping dozens inside.

As the country took in the shocking details Friday, some said a new, macabre milestone had been reached in a conflict that’s claimed nearly 40,000 people since 2006.

Read more

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.