GUNMEN ruthlessly slaughtered nine people after opening fire at a wake in a cartel-plagued city in Mexico.
The bloody massacre was sparked after men in two vans stormed a home in the city of Celaya, in battle-scarred Guanajuato State.
Images on social media showed bloody bodies scattered near a coffin and the injured collapsed on a nearby street.
Some local media outlets reported that Thursday's death toll could be as high as 13 after more than 60 shots were fired.
Rapid gunfire could be heard in videos that appeared to have been recorded at the scene of the mass murder.
It was reported that the wake was being held for a man who had been murdered in the city just a day earlier.
In a statement, the local authorities said: “The Secretariat for Citizen Security condemns any action that violates social peace and regrets the death of civilians.”
There was no immediate report of who was responsible for the outrageous crime in the state, which is north west of Mexico City.
However, Guanajuato is at the center of the bloody turf war between rival organised crime gangs competing over the lucrative drugs trade.
Thousands have been killed in the region since the local Santa Rosa de Lima gang first faced off with the feared Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in 2017.
Authorities captured the leader of the Santa Rosa gang in August, but the violence has continued to spiral out of control.
That cartel grew up in a farming hamlet of the same name by stealing fuel from government pipelines and refineries and robbing freight from trains.
But after authorities stepped up security around trains and pipelines over the last two years, the gang turned to extortion and kidnapping.
The ruthless CJNG has been Mexico's most violent crime gang in recent years, aggressively expanding its reach across the country through bold attacks against its rivals and government forces.
Ruled by Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera Cervantes has now consolidated power in at least 35 states across Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The cartel’s rise to dominance has left an appalling history of bodies and screams in its wake – ripping out victims' hearts, dissolving their bodies in acid, and even targeting pregnant women.
Mexican authorities estimate the gang now oversee one-third of all drugs smuggled into the United States.
Europe and Asia are also being aggressively targeted as it forges links with other overseas organised crime.
Their conflict has made Guanajuato- home to charming San Miguel Allende, a popular retirement spot for Americans – one of Mexico's deadliest state.
Figures show it has one of the highest murder rates in the country – with at least nine murders a day last year.
On Tuesday night, five people were killed in the municipality of León in Guanajuato.
Gunmen arrived at an apartment and murdered four people, with a fifth victim dying in hospital.
In September, gunmen killed 11 people in a bar in Jaral del Progreso near the border with Michoacn state.
More than two dozen people were also killed in an unregistered drug rehabilitation center in Irapuato in July.
Speaking after those killings, the country’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said: “The situation Guanajuato is facing is very serious.
“There is fighting between gangs, and in the majority of cases it’s aggression between them.”
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