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Hundreds of soldiers and federal agents are raiding casinos in this northern city of Monterrey, authorities said Saturday, two days after an arson attack on a gambling house killed 52 people and stunned a country that had become numb to massacres and beheadings.

Security forces had so far confiscated about 1,500 slot machines at 11 casinos in Monterrey and its surroundings and arrested three people, Mexico’s tax agency said. It said the continuing operation was meant to verify whether casinos had paid taxes or introduced slot machines illegally.

Mexicans have endured plenty of horrific crimes during their country’s five-year offensive against cartels because of  the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel  turf war

However, the casino attack had a major impact because many of the victims were from the middle class, not cartel foot soldiers or migrants who are the usual targets, said Jorge Chabat, an expert in safety and drug trafficking at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics.

“We’re talking about an attack on a civilian population of a certain income,” he said. “Because who was there was from the middle class, the upper middle class of an important city in Mexico.”

Thursday’s arson attack by gunmen was a macabre milestone in a conflict that the government says has claimed more than 35,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006. Others put the death toll near 40,000. read full story   

Security camera captures Mexico casino attack-on you tube