Mexican drug cartels armed with powerful weapons and angered by a military crackdown are striking back, says the Associated Press. They are killing soldiers in bold, daily attacks. The daily bloodshed includes an ambush that killed five soldiers, a severed head left with a defiant note outside a military barracks and the slaying Monday of a top federal intelligence official who was shot in the face in his car outside his office in Mexico City.
Mexicans were shocked last week by televised images of kindergartners fleeing their school during a grenade-and-gun battle between traffickers and soldiers that lasted for nearly two hours in a small town in President Felipe Calderon’s home state of Michoacan. The bloodshed has forced a change in strategy for Calderon, who sent more than 24,000 federal police and soldiers out in December to reoccupy territory from Michoacan’s poppy-dotted mountains to the tourist-packed port of Acapulco. To supplement the massive presence of soldiers and tanks in small towns, he’s ordered creation of an elite military special operations force capable of surgical strikes. “We are not going to give in,” Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said. “In the states where there is most violence, we will be right there to confront the phenomenon.”