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Friday, May 2, 2008

Tijuana drug war threatens hospitals, schools by Elliot Spagat FROM The Arizona Republic

Apr. 30, 2008 12:00 AM

TIJUANA, Mexico - Soldiers held Tijuana's main hospital in a virtual lockdown Tuesday, as doctors treated eight drug traffickers wounded in shootouts in this border city.

Even in Mexico's most violent city, jaded residents feel caught in the crossfire between drug smugglers and federal troops sent in to stop them. Hospitals, schools, and even taco-and-beer tourism are on the front lines of a turf war.

The latest bout of violence exploded on Saturday, with rival gang members killing each other all over Tijuana in simultaneous, pre-dawn attacks that left at least 13 dead.

Three days later, the Hospital General de Tijuana was surrounded by camouflaged federal troops with machine guns guarding locked gates. Outpatient services were halted, visits from family and friends were severely restricted and anyone without an emergency was told to go elsewhere.

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