MONTERREY, Mexico - Two dozen gunmen burst into a casino in northern Mexico yesterday, doused it with gasoline, and started a fire that trapped gamblers inside, killing at least 45 people and injuring a dozen more, authorities said.
The fire at the Casino Royale in Monterrey, a city that has seen a surge in drug-cartel-related violence, was one of the deadliest attacks on an entertainment center in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006.
State police officials quoted survivors as saying armed men burst into the casino, apparently to rob it, and began dousing the premises with fuel from tanks they brought with them.
The attackers told the terrified customers and employees to get out. But many fled further inside the building, where they died trapped amid the flames and thick smoke.