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Suspected hitmen shoot another Mexican mayor

Mayor-elect Ricardo Solis is taken into a hospital while lying on a stretcher after being critically wounded in Gran Morelos September 24, 2010. Suspected drug hitmen shot and critically wounded Solis in Mexico on Friday, the second attack on a public official in less than 24 hours. Solis, the recently elected mayor of the small town of Gran Morelos' in the northern state of Chihuahua, was shot several times in the head and immediately taken to hospital, Mexican media said. REUTERS/Stringer

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - Suspected drug hitmen shot and critically wounded a mayor-elect in Mexico on Friday, the second attack on a public official in less than 24 hours.

Ricardo Solis, the recently elected mayor of the small town of Gran Morelos’ in the northern state of Chihuahua, was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who drove up in two SUVs, the local attorney general’s office said.

Solis was immediately taken to hospital, his bleeding head bound as he lay on a stretcher and was placed in an ambulance.

“He remains in a delicate condition,” said Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman at the attorney general’s office.

Solis was due to take office on October 9.

On Thursday, armed men killed the mayor of a town outside Mexico’s northern business city of Monterrey as he drove to his ranch in the town of Doctor Gonzalez, 30 miles east of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon state.

Thousands of troops and federal police deployed by President Felipe Calderon across Mexico have been unable to put down a brutal cartel offensive, particularly in Chihuahua’s largest city, Ciudad Juarez, where some 6,600 people have died in drug violence since January 2008.

Calderon condemned the mayor’s killing in Doctor Gonzalez and vowed to continue his army-led fight against the cartels.

“I reiterate my condolences for the cowardly assassination of Prisciliano Rodriguez, mayor of Gonzalez. We must redouble our fight against these criminals,” Calderon said on his Twitter feed.

Reporting by Julian Cardona; editing by Todd Eastham and Chris Wilson

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