MEXICO CITY (AP) — An attack on a bar in Mexico’s Gulf coast city of Coatzacoalcos (koh-AHTzah-koh-AHL-kos) killed 23 people and injured 13 late Tuesday.
The attackers started a fire that ripped through the bar, killing eight women and 15 men. There was no immediate information on the condition of the injured.
Photos of the scene showed tables and chairs jumbled around, apparently as people tried to flee.
The state prosecutor’s office in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz said the search was continuing for the attackers.
Veracruz Gov. Cuitlahuac Garcia suggested that a gang dispute was involved in the attack.
“In Veracruz, criminal gangs are no longer tolerated,” Garcia wrote of the attack, adding police, the armed forces and newly formed National Guard are searching for the attackers.
State police identified the establishment as the “Bar Caballo Blanco.”
The tatty bar is located in a storefront on a busy commercial street in Coatzacoalcos, a city whose main industry has long been oil and oil refining.
The fire may have been started with gasoline bombs.
It came almost eight years to the day after a fire at a casino in the northern city of Monterrey killed 52 people. The Zetas drug cartel staged that 2011 attack to enforce demands for protection payments.
The Zetas, now splintered, have also been active in Coatzacoalcos.
The attack, along with the killing of 19 people in the western city of Uruapan earlier this month, is likely to renew fears that the public, theatrical violence of the 2006-2012 drug war has returned.