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Bystanders die in police shoot-out

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Relatives of those killed during an attack on a birthday party at a funeral service in Mexico (AP)

Relatives of those killed during an attack on a birthday party at a funeral service in Mexico (AP)

Relatives of those killed during an attack on a birthday party at a funeral service in Mexico (AP)

Three bystanders have died in the crossfire of a shoot-out between gunmen, police and soldiers in northern Mexico.

The victims in the shooting were a 14-year-old boy and two women aged 18 and 47, according to a statement by the prosecutors' office in northern Coahuila state.

The statement said gunmen travelling in two vehicles opened fire on a convoy of federal police and soldiers in the city of Saltillo. The officers and soldiers returned fire.

It was not clear who fired the shots that killed the bystanders, but the state attorney general's office said it was investigating and expressed condolences to the victims' families.

Three gunmen also died in a separate shoot-out in another Coahuila city, Torreon.

Mexico's army, which has taken a leading role in combating drug gangs, has come under criticism for alleged indiscriminate use of force and firing on civilians.

In the border city of Ciudad Juarez, meanwhile, the death toll from a birthday party massacre late on Friday rose to 14 after an 18-year-old man died of his wounds.

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Nineteen people were wounded in the attack on two private homes where about four dozen partygoers had gathered for a teenager's birthday.

The dead identified so far were aged between 13 and 32 years old, and the majority of the victims were high school students, a survivor said.

While investigators said they have not yet identified the perpetrators or a motive, police found 70 bullet casings from assault weapons typically used by drug gangs at the scene of the shootings.


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