At least nine U.S. citizens were killed in what’s being described by local media as a highway ambush in Mexico. The attack took place south of the Mexico – U.S. border near Sonora, which is not a major tourist area.
NBC News reports that six children were among those killed. The attack occurred on a motorcade of several Mormon families; some had been traveling to Arizona on a shopping trip, while others were headed to Chihuahua to visit family. The victims lived in a Mormon community in La Mora, which is approximately 75 miles south of the U.S. border.
The official State Department travel advisory for Mexico as a whole, as well as its major tourist areas, remains at Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution on the State Department’s new four-tier advisory scale. Sonora is rated Level 3: Reconsider Travel, because it is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks, according to the State Department. Chihuahua is likewise rated Level 3 due to violent crime and gang activity.
According to the BBC, the attackers are suspected to be drug cartel gunmen. Mexico’s security minister has said that the group could have been targeted accidentally in a case of mistaken identity. In a Tuesday-morning tweet, President Donald Trump offered additional aid to Mexico to combat drug cartel violence.