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11 more bodies dumped in Mexican city

Mexico City - At least 11 more bodies were dumped around the Mexican city of Veracruz on Thursday, according to local media reports, two days after the discovery of 35 other corpses in the once-quiet Gulf port.

The bodies found on Thursday were in small groups scattered in various parts of the city, despite high security for a summit of attorneys general and justice officials.

On Tuesday, 35 people with suspected links to drug gangs were murdered and their bodies left in two trucks abandoned under a highway bridge in Boca del Rio, about 5km from the centre of Veracruz.

Daily Milenio, quoting federal sources, said up to 14 bodies were found on Thursday, although other media put the toll at 11. Local police and security authorities were not immediately available for comment.

A banner found near the 35 bodies dumped on Tuesday said the killings were a warning to the Zetas, one of Mexico's most ferocious drug gangs, which has been engaged in a turf war with more established rivals. It was not clear whether the latest killings were reprisals for that attack.

Violence between rival drug cartels has been heating up in the coffee- and sugar-growing state of Veracruz, which had been little affected by the violence until a few months ago. A group of armed men hurled a grenade into a popular area of the city last month, killing one, and earlier this week, 32 inmates escaped from state jails.

Most of the violence had focused for years on the northern border with the United States, but it has spread in recent months to other parts of the country as gangs fracture, old alliances dissolve and smugglers seek new transportation routes.

About 42 000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon launched his war on drug gangs in late 2006.

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