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Mexico hits back after robberies at airport

MORE than 800 federal and local police have been assigned to improve security in and around Mexico City's international airport after a series of armed robberies against travelers who exchanged money there.

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Mancera said on Monday that 460 additional city police officers had been assigned to patrol areas surrounding the airport.

Federal police had added 350 new agents to the airport since December, said Federal Police Commissioner Rodrigo Esparza.

At least 18 people have been robbed recently outside the airport. They appear to have been followed after doing business at the currency exchanges inside, according to city prosecutors.

Five of the victims were foreigners, including a French scientist who was shot and killed in January after assailants intercepted his car and stole 4,800 euros (US$6,054).

The government has also deployed 700 extra federal police to Ciudad Juarez, a city bordering Texas where local police have been overwhelmed by drug violence.

The police joined 3,200 federal troops who arrived in the city over the weekend.

Meanwhile, in the western state of Michoacan, attackers threw grenades at a city police chief's house and a police station in the city of Uruapan on Monday, injuring four officers, a state prosecutor said.

Uruapan is one of many cities struggling with increasing drug violence. There were two other grenade attacks against police stations there last month.

More than 1,000 people have been killed so far this year in Mexico as drug gangs battle for territory.

In Tijuana, police arrested four associates of Teodoro Garcia Simental, a suspected drug lord and chief rival of Arellano Felix cartel leader Fernando Sanchez Arrellano.

Officials blame their power struggle for a surge in violence in Tijuana last year.


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