Tecalitlan 1 (Photo: Chairs scattered in a courtyard after an attack on pilgrims in Tecalitlan December 10, 2010/Stringer)

Suspected drug cartel gunmen attacked each other during annual religious celebrations in a small Mexican town, killing 11 people and wounding 22 others, local authorities said on Saturday.

The rival gangs shot machine guns into the packed central square of Tecalitlan late Friday night and wreaked havoc on the festival in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, one of Mexico’s most cherished national and religious symbols. The gunmen also lobbed a grenade into the crowd.

virgin (Photo: Pilgrims going to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City December 11, 2010/Felipe Courzo)

Tecalitlan is close to Apatzingan, where the worst violence flared in clashes to track down the drug lord. Jalisco state is famous for traditional mariachi music and locals were enjoying a concert as part of several days of events for the Virgin, who is said to have appeared to a Mexican peasant in the 16th century.

Read the full story by Roman Ortega in Guadalajara here.

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