Friday, August 26th 2011, 1:31 AM
A blood-soaked "night of sadness" befell Mexico Thursday as the nation's violence-weary populace grappled with its latest spate of drug-cartel-related mayhem.
This time, two dozen armed, profanity-shouting gunmen burst into the Casino Royale in Monterrey, doused the gambling hall with gasoline as stunned patrons looked on - and then set the building ablaze.
Fifty-three died and more were injured in the casino-turned-deathtrap in the heart of the northern Mexican town.
However, authorities warned that the death toll could rise, as the gruesome, body-littered scene was still being addressed.
"This is a night of sadness for Mexico,"federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire said in a televised address after the attack. "These unspeakable acts of terror will not go unpunished."
President Felipe Calderon tried to rally his shaken countrymen by tweeting that the attack was, "an abhorrent act of terror and barbarism," that requires, "all of us to persevere in the fight against these unscrupulous criminal bands."
The Associated Press reported that the attackers burst into the casino without warning, told the customers and employees to get out of the building with shouts and profanities.
But many terrified customers and employees fled further inside the doomed casino, where they died trapped amid the flames and thick smoke that soon billowed out of the building.
It was the second time in three months that the Casino Royale was targeted. Gunmen struck it and three other casinos on May 25, when the gunmen sprayed the Casino Royale with bullets, but no was reported injured in that attack.
Last month, gunmen killed 20 people at a bar in Monterrey. The attackers sprayed the bar with rounds from assault rifles, and police later found bags of drugs at the bar.
Monterrey has seen bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Gulf cartels in recent months.
Once Mexico's symbol of development and prosperity, the city is seeing this year's drug-related murders on a pace to double last year's and triple those of the year before.
With News Wire Services
(Hans Maximo Musielik/AP)
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/08/25/2011-08-25_gunmen_set_monterreys_casino_royale_on_fire_killing_at_least_45_in_latest_mexico.html#ixzz1W8tal4KS