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US Closes Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The U.S. government has closed its consulate in the violence-hit Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez to evaluate security concerns.

The U.S. embassy in Mexico City issued a statement Thursday, advising U.S. citizens to avoid the area around the consulate until it reopens. The embassy did not say what prompted the security review or how long the consulate would remain closed. But, officials said appointments that have been canceled due to the closure would be rescheduled.

The decision comes more than four months after gunmen killed three people linked to the diplomatic post.

Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas, has been on the front line of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's war on drug cartels. Mexico's border areas have been particularly violent as cartels battle each other for control of trafficking routes into the United States.

President Calderon has deployed thousands of soldiers nationwide to fight drug gangs since taking office in 2006. About 25,000 people have been killed in spiraling drug-related violence since he began cracking down on the cartels.

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