18 die in drug war violence in Ciudad Juarez in one day

MEXICO CITY — On an especially deadly day in Mexico's most violent city, gunmen barged into a beer joint and killed eight people, six of them waitresses.

Another 10 people were killed in other shootings in Ciudad Juarez during a 24-hour period ending early Friday. The city across from El Paso has long been plagued by murders and kidnappings as rival drug gangs fight for control. But even so, 18 dead in a single day seemed especially grim.

The worst incident was at the Las Torres Bar on a low-end commercial strip in a rough Juarez neighborhood. Gunmen armed with assault rifles opened fire on people inside the bar Thursday night, killing eight and seriously wounding three others.

"They fired indiscriminately," a spokesman for the state prosecutor's office, Carlos Gonzalez, said.

Gonzalez initially said seven of the victims were women who worked in the bar. Later, upon further inspection, the prosecutor's office issued a statement clarifying that six were women and a seventh was a man dressed as a woman.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez last year, according to official government statistics, a bloodletting that has driven tens of thousands of people into exile and forced the shuttering of roughly 70 percent of the city's stores.

Mexican officials, meanwhile, are taking umbrage at recent comments by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who raised the possibility of an alliance between Mexican drug cartels and radical Islamic terrorists.