Mexico border city holds festival despite deaths

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — The mayor of a Mexican border city said Children's Day celebrations would proceed Wednesday despite running gunbattles between gunmen in homemade armored vehicles and security forces a day before that left 14 people dead, including bystanders.

Reynosa Mayor Jose Elias Leal told local media that it was up to residents to decide whether they wanted to go out in public for the celebrations. Children's Day events had been held for several days in this city across the border from McAllen, Texas, leading up to the main event Wednesday at a local rodeo ring.

The government of Tamaulipas state said Tuesday's gunbattles began with an ambush-style attack that killed two federal police officers on patrol.

Soldiers were called in and came under fire from four gunmen in a pickup truck with improvised armor. Tamaulipas drug gangs often weld steel plates onto normal vehicles.

The assailants were killed, as were six other gunmen in ensuing shootouts. The government said two passing motorists were killed by stray bullets.

While officials did not identify which armed group was involved in the gunbattles, Reynosa is considered part of the Gulf Cartel's traditional territory.

Tuesday's confrontations continued at other points in the city, and gang members used passenger buses to block streets. Experts have said some of the confrontations in Tamaulipas in recent weeks appear to involve rival factions of the Gulf Cartel.

Officials in Reynosa announced that some streets would be closed Thursday for Labor Day marches.

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