Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico police fire on US embassy staff

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Media captionThe BBC's Zoe Conway says the shooting remains a very "confusing picture"

Two people employed at the US embassy in Mexico have been wounded after their car was mistakenly fired on by police south of Mexico City, officials say.

The Mexican Navy said the US personnel were on a main road to the city of Cuernavaca when the shooting happened.

Details are still unclear, but the navy said the US vehicle had been fleeing from gunmen in another car.

The US state department said it was working with Mexican authorities to investigate the incident.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the two men were receiving "appropriate medical care and are in stable condition".

"We have no further information to share at this time," she added.

One of the men was said to have been hit in the leg and the other in the stomach and hand. Both were admitted to hospital.

A Mexican marine travelling with the two US employees was slightly injured in the incident, the navy said.

The Mexican public security ministry and marines said in a joint statement: "Today at 08:00 a diplomatic vehicle belonging to the US embassy was hit by multiple bullets from personnel of the federal police in the Tres Marias-Huitzilac highway."

It said the embassy personnel had been heading to a military installation in the town of El Capulin when a carload of gunmen opened fire on them and chased them, along with the Mexican naval officer accompanying them.

Riddled with bullets

Alerted to the gunfire, federal police patrol vehicles - conducting anti-crime operations in the area at the time - arrived and apparently opened fire.

The federal police officers involved have been held for questioning, the navy said.

Pictures from the scene showed the Toyota vehicle riddled with bullet-holes.

The shooting happened in the state of Morelos, which has recently suffered a surge in murders amid a turf war between drug cartels.

Mexico has endured years of bloodshed that have left more than 50,000 people dead since President Felipe Calderon deployed soldiers to combat cartels in 2006.

Washington co-operates closely with Mexico under the Merida Initiative, which trains and supports the Mexican army in its war against drug traffickers.

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