MEXICO CITY – Seven people were killed in two separate confrontations between Mexican marines and gunmen in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, authorities said Thursday.
Marines on patrol Tuesday afternoon near the town of San Fernando were attacked by armed assailants traveling in several vehicles, the state government said in a statement.
The marines returned fire, killing five of the attackers.
The troops also seized an SUV with Texas license plates as well as a small arsenal that included five rifles, a handgun, a grenade launcher and four projectiles and 974 rounds of ammunition,
Also Tuesday, marines deployed in the border city of Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, spotted four armed men traveling in an SUV and ordered them to stop.
The men started shooting at the marines in an attempt to flee, according to the official statement.
Their vehicle collided with a traffic island and while three of the gunmen got away, the fourth died in an exchange of shots with the marines.
Following the battle, the troops found a man of around 70 fatally shot in the passenger seat of another SUV.
A relative who identified himself as the driver of the second SUV told authorities that the older man was struck when the gunmen started shooting at the marines.
Tamaulipas has been the scene for several years of violent conflict between the rival Gulf and Zetas drug cartels and between the criminals and security forces.