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Police kill 10 after "heavily armed group" attacks officers in Mexico

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Ten suspected criminals were killed and seven more detained in a police operation against an armed gang in south-central Mexico, the public prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred when "a heavily armed group" attacked officers in the town of Texcaltitlan, who then responded with "a legitimate use of force," the State of Mexico prosecutor's office tweeted.

Three of the officers were slightly injured, while four of those detained were wounded during the shootout.

Ten killed in Mexico State shootout with security forces, officials say
Federal forces are pictured at a scene following a shootout that left three security forces wounded and 10 suspected criminals killed, in Texcaltitlan, Mexico June 14, 2022. STRINGER / REUTERS

"We recognize and are proud of the actions carried out by our colleagues against criminal groups in the whole of Mexico State," said the prosecutor's office.

The authority did not say whether or not the suspected criminals belonged to a drug trafficking cartel, although such gangs operate in the region.

Officers seized 20 R-15-type, large-caliber weapons, plus pistols, ammunition, five vehicles, bullet-proof vests, military-style uniforms and communication equipment, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor added that it was joined by state police, the National Guard, the army and navy in the operation.

Mexico has registered more than 340,000 murders and tens of thousands of disappearances since launching a controversial military offensive against organized crime in 2006.

Experts and human rights defenders say the militarization of combat against organized crime has exacerbated Mexico's problem with violence.

Since coming to power at the end of 2018, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has repeatedly called for security services to rely more on intelligence than force in combating criminality.

In April, Lopez Obrador confirmed that Mexico had dissolved a special unit trained by U.S. authorities to fight drug cartels because it had been infiltrated by criminals. 

In March, Lopez Obrador accused popular television shows of glamorizing the violent drug trade. He criticized TV series on platforms such as Netflix, saying they presented a rose-colored version of the lifestyles of drug traffickers. 

He told reporters the shows feature "gangs of drug traffickers, with actors, men, beautiful women, property, the latest cars, jewelry, designer clothes, power."

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