The massacre in broad daylight in northern Mexico last week, when gunmen burst into a casino, doused it with gasoline, and set it ablaze, is the deadliest act of violence in a public space since Mexico launched a military offensive against organized crime nearly five years ago, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The attack at the Casino Royale in Monterrey left more than 50 people dead.
Officials blamed the arson on feuding drug gangs in the northern city. Rivals could have been inside the casino. Officials also say it could have been an attack on the casino itself for not paying protection money; extortion rackets are common in northern Mexico. “I think this inaugurates a new era of violence attached to organized crime in Mexico,” says Alejandro Schtulmann, of Emerging Markets Political Risk Analysis in Mexico City. “The fact is once you escalate the level of violence, all groups that see the threshold being removed start using similar attacks.”