CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – One of the four international bridges linking this northern Mexican city and El Paso, Texas, was closed for nearly two hours Tuesday after a bomb was found and detonated on the Mexican side of the border, a police spokesman told Efe.
The bomb was spotted just after 8:00 a.m. on the Lerdo Bridge, which was immediately closed to traffic.
Several of the main avenues in Ciudad Juarez leading to the bridge were also closed, causing massive traffic jams in Mexico’s murder capital.
Army troops, Federal Police officers, municipal police and transit police went to the bridge to secure the area and direct traffic.
Mexican authorities, working with the U.S. Border Patrol, detonated the bomb.
The flow of traffic across the border resumed two hours after the controlled detonation, but officials have not said what type of explosive was used.
This was the latest in a series of bombings in northern Mexico.
Assailants suspected of having links to an organized crime group threw a bomb Saturday at one of the bridges connecting Nuevo Laredo, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, with Laredo, Texas.
No injuries or damage were reported in Saturday’s attack, the Nuevo Laredo city government said in a statement posted on an official Web site.
The blast occurred on the access ramp to International Bridge One, officials said.
A car bombing in Ciudad Juarez targeting Federal Police officers killed four people – a physician, two officers and a firefighter – on July 15.
A car packed with 10 kilos (22 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosives was apparently detonated with a cell phone on a busy street in the border city.
The attack was in retaliation for the arrest of Jesus Armando Acosta Guerrero, 35, reputed leader of the armed wing of the Juarez drug cartel, the Federal Police said.
Acosta was behind at least 25 murders, including the June 25 slayings of two federal officers in Juarez, officials said.
The Attorney General’s Office, however, has not issued an official finding on the incident, which would be the first confirmed use of a car bomb by an organized crime group in Mexico.
Ciudad Juarez, where nearly 6,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
A total of 1,700 gangland killings occurred in Ciudad Juarez during the first seven months of the year, a figure that was up 47.6 percent from the same period in 2009, when 1,150 people were murdered, officials and press reports said earlier this week.
July was the second-most-violent month of 2010 in the border city, with 291 homicides, or an average of eight per day, being registered.
June ranks as the most violent month of the year, with 313 homicides, followed by May, with 262; March, with 240; January, with 227; April, with 205; and February, with 163. EFE