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Explosions in western Mexican state reportedly kill 8 and injure dozens

September 16, 2008 | 10:00 am

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Two explosions during Mexican Independence Day celebrations in the western state of Michoacan killed eight people Monday night and injured dozens more, according to local media reports this morning.

Thousands of people were gathered in the center of Morelia, the state capital, when the explosions went off in front of the city's national palace. El Universal is reporting this morning that the explosions were caused by grenades thrown into the crowd during the celebrations. In addition to the deaths, at least 100 people were injured, according to Reforma and El Universal.

Gov. Leonel Godoy, quoted in this Reforma report, said: "Technically, this is a terrorist act. We have no doubt that we're facing a terrorist attempt."

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions, but media reports are making connections between the attacks and the country's organized crime networks, against which President Felipe Calderon is waging a war using the nation's army and police.

Michoacan is Calderon's home state.

Speaking this morning -- Independence Day -- at a ceremony in Mexico City, Calderon called on all Mexicans to condemn the events in Michoacan.

Mexico is not only in the midst of a violent war against its powerful drug lords, but crime and kidnappings are also soaring. Insecurity in the country has led the public to demand action from its government.

Calderon did not pin blame for the blasts on any particular group, but he called for unity in Mexico and said: "We are against all of those who, in defense of their meager interests, are damaging the population."

Click here for our special report on Mexico's drug wars, Mexico Under Siege, and here for more on Mexico.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

edited at 14:42pm Mexico City time. Photo and video added.

Image: Mexico's military march down Avenida Reforma in Mexico City during the country's Independence Weekend celebrations Tuesday, and the day after at least seven people were killed in an explosion in the western state of Michoacan. Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times

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