8 people killed in “downtown” mass shooting near resort area in Mexico

Eight people were killed in a shooting over the weekend in Mexico's Morelos state, bordering Mexico City, authorities reported Sunday.

The attack took place on Saturday in the municipality of Huitzilac, off a highway connecting the capital with the tourist town of Cuernavaca.

The Morelos prosecutor's office said four people died at the scene, while four others died after being taken to hospital. Seven of the victims were aged between 29 and 50 years, while the eighth victim could not be immediately identified.

All eight bodies have been transferred to Forensic Medical Service facilities as the shooting continues, officials said.

The forested mountain town of Huitzilac is plagued by illegal loggers, kidnappers and drug gangs, as it provides the closest rural hideout to Mexico's capital.

The town's mayor, Rafael Vargas, described the attack as a horrific act of violence.

“Right in the middle of the city, several people were attacked and killed,” Vargas said. Apparently aware of the city's bad reputation, he added: “Violence must stop. We will condemn all slanders that seek to harm our people.”

Morelos is a popular vacation spot for Mexico City residents, although its borders are relaxed. Guerrero StateWhere various drug cartels operate.

In November last year, nine people were killed in an armed clash between police and alleged criminals in Cuernavaca.

About 450,000 people have been killed across the country since 2006, when the government launched a controversial anti-drug operation involving the military, according to official figures.

Previous Week, 18 bodies have been found. In Zacatecas, a northern Mexican state reeling from a wave of drug cartel-related violence. Officials said nine of the messages addressed to a criminal gang were found with the bodies.

Last month, A The journalist was killed in Morelos after taking her daughter to school.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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