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US Temporarily Closes Consulate in Mexican Border Town

The United States is temporarily closing its consulate in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo because of escalating violence.

In a statement from Mexico City Friday, Ambassador Tony Garza said the consulate will close for one week, beginning August 1. He says Thursday's battle on the streets of Nuevo Laredo forced the closure to assess the security situation for employees and travelers.

Rival gangs clashed with machine guns, grenades and a rocket launcher late Thursday. No one was killed, but the neighborhood has been described as resembling a war zone.

The closure announcement comes days after the ambassador asked the U.S. State Department to extend its travel advisory warning Americans about attacks in Mexico.

More than 100 people have been killed in the town since June, including 18 policemen, as gangs compete for drug-smuggling routes into the United States.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.