CIUDAD JUAREZ (Mexico) - GUNMEN raided a family party in this violent border city and killed six people in a spray of bullets, police said on Saturday.

Armed men on Friday night entered through the back of a house in a residential neighborhood near the center of Ciudad Juarez, surprising the party-goers with an assault-rifle attack. Two men died on the spot and four others, three men and a woman died in the hospital, said Adrian Sanchez, spokesman for the Ciudad Juarez municipal police.

Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas, is a battleground for drug cartels vying for shipping routes to the US market. More than 6,800 people have been killed in the city since early 2008.

In late January, suspected drug gang members opened fire on a group of young people during a birthday celebration in a house in Ciudad Juarez, killing 14 people.

Violence in the city has been increasing despite more than 7,500 police and soldiers sent by the government of President Felipe Calderon, who launched a campaign against drug cartels after taking office in late 2006.

Mr Calderon visited Ciudad Juarez a few days ago, amid heavy
security, to open parks and hospitals as part of a government plan to increase social spending and rebuild the devastated city.

6 killed in Mexico gun attack