Seven killed in attack on bar in Mexico tourist resort

Playa del Carmen is a popular resort in Mexico, but has also been the scene of drug-related violence (AFP Photo/DANIEL SLIM) (AFP/File)

Mexico City (AFP) - Gunmen opened fire in a crowded bar in the Mexican resort city of Playa del Carmen, killing seven people, authorities and media reports said Monday, in the latest violence to rock the country's tourist-magnet beaches.

"Six people lost their lives at the scene, and a seventh subsequently died while being taken to the hospital," the public security minister for the state of Quintana Roo, Alberto Capella, told TV network Televisa after the Sunday night attack.

Local media reports said the bar was about 10 minutes from the center of the main tourist zone, and was packed with revelers at the end of the Epiphany holiday weekend.

Playa del Carmen and nearby Cancun are the top tourist destinations in Mexico, famous for their turquoise waters and white-sand Caribbean beaches.

But they have been increasingly hit by violence as Mexico's powerful drug cartels fight for control of the area.

Capella said the latest incident bore the hallmarks of a drug cartel hit, but authorities have yet to arrest any suspects.

Mexico has been swept by a wave of violent crime since the government deployed the army to crack down on drug cartels in 2006.

Since then, more than 200,000 people have been murdered, including a record 28,711 in 2017. Preliminary figures indicate the homicide record was broken again in 2018.