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Mexican party massacre leaves 17 dead

An attack on a private party in northern Mexico has left 17 people dead and 18 wounded.

Reports say the gunmen did not say a word as they jumped from their cars and stormed the event. They simply opened fire.

And while Sunday's massacre in the city of Torreon was ghastly, it was not unprecedented in northern Mexico, a region that is slammed day after day by gruesome slayings that authorities attribute to an increasingly brutal battle between drug gangs feuding over territory.

Investigators had no suspects or information on a possible motive in the attack. Television footage showed the patio of the house streaked with bloodstains and white plastic chairs overturned beneath a party tent.

Several of the victims were young and some were women, police said, but their identities and ages had not yet been determined.

The assailants arrived in a convoy of vehicles, the Coahuila state Attorney General's Office said in a statement. Police found more than 120 bullet casings at the scene, most of them from .22-calibre weapons.

Torreon is no stranger to violence. In May, gunmen killed eight people at a bar in the city, while later that month a television station and the offices of a local newspaper came under fire.

Officials say 24,800 people have been killed in drug-gang violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in December 2006, deploying soldiers and police to fight traffickers.