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5 Mexican Police, 15 Gang Members Killed in Northern Mexico

Mexican officials say police have killed 15 gang members in a shootout after gunmen kidnapped and killed four police officers.

Officials say Wednesday's violence began when 40 armed men drove into the town of Cananea in the northwestern state of Sonora and seized four policemen. The gang members later shot the officers and dumped their bodies by the side of a road.

Authorities say Mexican police chased the gunmen to a mountainous area and killed 15 of them in a gun battle. A fifth policeman was killed in the fighting.

Police freed four other people held captive by the armed group.

Mexican drug cartels and crime gangs have killed hundreds of people over the past year. President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of police and soldiers across the country to try to stop the violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.