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Red Cross worker, 3 police dead in attack in southern Mexico

November 19, 2018

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Red Cross paramedic was killed and six others wounded in a rare attack by a gang of young gunmen on a Red Cross aid distribution event in southern Mexico.

Three police officers providing security at the event also died in the attack Sunday in the township of Taxco, in the southern state of Guerrero.

State security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said Monday that the attack involved 20 men aged between 18 and 20.

Alvarez said the attackers, wearing fake military-style uniforms, arrived in five pickups and SUVs and opened fire indiscriminately on poor families, police and Red Cross volunteers. A police officer and two residents were also wounded in the attack.

While gangs have sometimes attacked ambulances to finish off wounded rivals, direct attacks on paramedics are rare in Mexico.

The attack occurred as the Red Cross personnel were distributing blankets, jackets and aid packages to help poor families make it through the winter cold.

Guerrero Gov. Hector Astudillo said Sunday the nature of the event and the victims suggested the attack “is an irrational act that verges on terrorism.”

Alvarez said no previous direct attack on Red Cross personnel had been recorded In Guerrero, a state plagued by drug growing and trafficking.

“The Red Cross is a noble, apolitical institution that is respected even in times of war,” Alvarez said, adding there was no immediate information on a possible motive.

The Mexican Red Cross said in a statement “the attack on our personnel not only affects our organization, but also affects the beneficiaries, because they are people who hope to get help to mitigate their suffering.”

Taxco is a tourist destination known for its silver jewelry and colonial architecture. But outlying areas of the township have been hit hard by drug gang violence.

In February, gunmen killed two priests in another town near the site of Sunday’s attack.

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