The drug war in Mexico has now experienced an escalation. For the first time since Mexico’s President, Philipe Calderon, has taken office and started his crackdown on drug cartels, a car bomb was used to target federal police.
The video clip doesn’t state it, but the car bombing was in the town of Ciudad Juarez which is right across the border from El Paso, Texas and the same city where a U.S. consulate employee was killed in a drive by shooting. In fact, Ciudad Juarez has had more than 4,000 people killed since the beginning of 2009 and has resulted in the U.S. government issuing a travel warning and authorizing the departure of government employees from the city and a number of other cities in northern Mexico.
The bomb was apparently targeted at police and emergency personnel:
Until now, traffickers and their paramilitary hit men have stuck primarily to high-caliber guns, grenades and decapitations to kill each other and members of government security forces. The specter of bombings — which would inevitably claim more civilian victims — is reminiscent of the deadliest years of narco-violence in Colombia.
The car bomb exploded Thursday evening on a street in the violent city of Ciudad Juarez near a federal police headquarters. Before detonating the bomb, apparently with a cellphone, the assailants had dumped an injured man dressed as a municipal police officer on the sidewalk as bait to lure police and emergency paramedics closer to the vehicle.
While the drug cartel violence in Mexico is tragic, it is also a reminder of how we need to strengthen our security along the entire southern border to make sure we have as little spillover violence as possible. Shootings of the rancher, Robert Krentz, and the deputy in Arizona, along with the bodies of victims discovered in the Arizona desert seem to indicate we are failing in that regard.
And the cartels in Mexico only promise more of the same type of violence to come:
A message left at the scene claimed the Juarez Cartel was responsible for the blast, and it threatened further attacks. “We still have car bombs,” it reportedly said.
It should be noted that car bombs are one of the weapons of choice in the Middle East. And, the car bombing in Ciudad Juarez is more troubling due to recent reports that a Hezbollah has connections in Tijuana, Mexico. Could it be that the terrorist group has set up shop and is sharing knowledge with the drug cartels?
Regardless, there seems to be no end in sight.