Death toll from northern Mexico shootings rises to 23

World – Twenty-three people were killed in violent clashes over the weekend in northern Mexico, authorities said on Tuesday, adding to the death toll of a bloody shootout that has intensified concerns about the threat posed by drug cartels.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week vowed to designate the cartels as terrorist groups, stirring fears that the United States could try to take unilateral action against them, and prompting the Mexican government to reject any intervention.

The multiple killings in and around the small town of Villa Union, roughly 40 miles (65 km) from the border with Texas, were one of the most serious security incidents since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office a year ago.

In a statement, the Coahuila state government said security forces had killed 17 suspected cartel gunmen in the fighting, an increase of three from figures announced on Sunday.

Four police and two unarmed civilians also died in the bloodletting, which erupted around midday on Saturday when a convoy of heavily armed pickup trucks rode into Villa Union and began shooting up the local mayor’s office.