Car bombs explode near Mexican television studios

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The Independent US

Two car bombs exploded in northern Mexico yesterday, days after Marines found the bodies of 72 migrants shot dead in Mexico's escalating war with drug cartels.

The blasts, the second and third bombs planted in a vehicle this month in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northern Gulf state of Tamaulipas, and the fourth in Mexico since late July, caused no casualties but damaged buildings.

The first attack, apparently part of a growing campaign of intimidation against the media, took place near the TV studio sof the broadcaster Televisa. It was unclear what explosives were used or how the bomb was detonated. No group was immediately blamed for the explosion. It was at least the fourth apparent attack on Televisa studios in northern Mexico since last year, when drug hitmen threw a grenade at its studios in Mexico's business capital Monterrey.

The second bomb detonated outside the municipal transit service offices near to the first explosion.

Car bombs are a new weapon in Mexico's drug war. So far, the devices appear to have been unsophisticated and have not caused widespread destruction. Four people were killed by a car bomb in July in the violent city of Ciudad Juarez. It was the first such attack since President Felipe Calderon took office.

Two senior police officers investigating the migrant massacre were abducted on Thursday. One of them was the senior prosecutor, Roberto Jaime Suarez Vazquez.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Mr Calderon launched his war on drugs in late 2006. Fourteen drug-related killings were reported in various locations in the beach resort of Acapulco yesterday. Several of the bound and blindfolded victims were covered with messages threatening rival cartels with further reprisals.

As such attacks become more common, Mr Calderon is seeking to convince civic leaders, businessmen and opposition politicians that his crackdown is making headway. "The paradox is that in other areas there can be advances ... in improving the economy, in social policy, but while this matter keeps weighing heavily on the daily life of ordinary people the country will not move forward as much as it should with its enormous potential," he said.