CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — A powerful car bomb exploded outside the home of the top police official of the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas early Tuesday, killing two policemen and injuring four officers and three civilians.
Tamaulipas state Interior Secretary Morelos Canseco said Public Safety Secretary Rafael Lomeli wasn't injured in the blast, but that three neighbors were injured by glass fragments from shattered windows.
Canseco said the attack appears to be a reprisal by criminal gangs. Almost a half-dozen car-bomb attacks have occurred in recent years Tamaulipas, where the Gulf cartel is battling the rival Zetas gang, but it is the first bombing in the state to cause significant casualties.
"This attack is a response to the actions of the state and federal governments to improve and ensure public safety," Canseco said.
Canseco said one of the wounded officers is in very serious condition.
Canseco said the bomb was detonated with a cellphone soon after Lomeli arrived at his home. He said the car bomb showed an increased sophistication, both in the detonator and explosives used. It apparently exploded in a car parked just outside a security barrier on a street on which the official's home is located.
Previous car bombs in Tamaulipas have usually exploded in streets outside buildings, or caused little damage.
In July 2010, a car bomb aimed at federal police officers exploded in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, to the west of Tamaulipas, killing three and wounding nine in the country's deadliest car-bombing to date.