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12-year-old among 18 shot dead in Ciudad Juarez

/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

A 12-year-old boy working at a car repair shop was among at least 18 people shot dead on Tuesday in a Mexican border city that has been ravaged by drug-related violence.

Attorney General's office spokesman Arturo Sandoval told The Associated Press that Tuesday was one of the bloodiest days of 2011 in Ciudad Juarez, a city across the border from El Paso, Texas, which has been plagued by violence warring cartels.

At least 20 homicides were recorded there on Feb. 18. More than 3,100 people were killed in all of 2010 in the sprawling city.

In the afternoon, gunmen ambushed a man at a car repair shot, Mexico's . The mechanic's 12-year-old assistant tried to hide in a nearby restaurant but was followed and  killed, the newspaper reported.

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Almost simultaneously, an "adolescent" was assassinated in another part of the city, according to El Diario.

Six other people — all between the ages of 17 and 22 — were attacked playing soccer at a sports field close to a state hospital, the newspaper reported. Five died after the attack, according to El Diaro.

Initial reports indicate that at least four attackers got out of two compact cars and began shooting at the young people, the paper said.

A series of other attacks killed a string of others throughout the city. It was not immediately clear if the killings are related.