Car bomb damages Mexico TV building

SAN FERNANDO, Mexico (AP) — A car exploded early Friday in front of the offices of a major Mexican television station in a northern state where officials are investigating the massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants.

The Televisa network reported that the explosion damaged its building and knocked out its signal for several hours in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the drug gang-plagued state of Tamaulipas. It said none of its employees was hurt in the explosion, which was felt for several blocks.

Soldiers were blocking access to the building, Televisa said.

The network described the explosion as a car bomb, but city, state and federal officials could not immediately be reached to confirm that. The press office at the Defense Department said it had no information.

If confirmed, it would be the third car bomb in Mexico this year — a new and frightening tactic in the country’s escalating drug war.

The first exploded July 5 in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, killing a federal police officer and two other people. The second, which caused no injuries, happened just two weeks ago in front of police headquarters in Ciudad Victoria.

Just north of Ciudad Victoria, heavily guarded investigators worked to identify 72 migrants massacred near the U.S. border, while human rights advocates demanded Mexico do more to stop the exploitation and abuse of migrants that they say led to the heinous crime.

Marines are protecting the pink, one-story funeral home where the bodies were taken after being discovered on a ranch Tuesday, bound, blindfolded and slumped against a wall.

Tamaulipas state Assistant Attorney General Jesus de la Garza said Thursday that 15 bodies had been identified: eight from Honduras, four from El Salvador, two from Guatemala and one from Brazil. Diplomats from several of those nations traveled to Mexico to help identify them, and Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission sent investigators to monitor the process.

The government’s chief security spokesman said the migrants were apparently slain because they refused to help a gang smuggle drugs.

“The information we have at this moment is that it was an attempt at forced recruitment,” Alejandro Poire told W radio. “It wasn’t a kidnapping with the intent to get money, but the intention was to hold these people, force them to participate in organized crime — with the terrible outcome that we know.”

The victims of what could be Mexico’s biggest drug-gang massacre were traversing some of the nation’s most dangerous territory, trying to reach Texas. The lone survivor said the assassins identified themselves as Zetas, a drug gang that dominates parts of the northern state of Tamaulipas.

In San Fernando, a crumbling colonial town of about 30,000 on Mexico’s Gulf coast, most people interviewed by The Associated Press were afraid to give their names.

A funeral home employee said the dead were stored in a refrigerated truck in the parking lot, where flies buzzed above white powder spread over bloodstains.

“This is frightening. It’s horrible,” said a tortilla stand worker in the crumbling colonial town of about 30,000 on Gulf coast.

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