How the gunfights in north Mexico that left 23 dead unfolded

  • Portraits of former mayors of Villa Union hang on a wall riddled with bullet holes after a gunbattle, inside City Hall, in Villa Union, Mexico, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The small town near the U.S.-Mexico border began cleaning up Monday even as fear persisted after 22 people were killed in a weekend gunbattle between a heavily armed drug cartel assault group and security forces. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

  • Workers repair the facade of City Hall riddled with bullet holes, in Villa Union, Mexico, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The small town near the U.S.-Mexico border began cleaning up Monday even as fear persisted after 22 people were killed in a weekend gun battle between a heavily armed drug cartel assault group and security forces. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

  • A shop’s windows are riddled with bullet holes near City Hall after a gunbattle in Villa Union, Mexico, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The small town near the U.S.-Mexico border began cleaning up Monday even as fear persisted after 22 people were killed in a weekend gunbattle between a heavily armed drug cartel assault group and security forces. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

VILLA UNION, Mexico — When dozens of pickup trucks crowded with armed men and mounted machine guns roared into Villa Union, residents of the small town near the U.S. border began to realize they were the target of a military-style invasion. What followed were hours-long gunbattles between a cartel force estimated to number 70 to 150 men and state police that left 23 people dead. At least 50 homes and buildings were riddled with bullet holes.

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