ACAPULCO, BBC NEWS - At least 15 gunmen thought to be linked to drug cartels and two soldiers have been killed in clashes in the Mexican resort of Acapulco, officials say.
Several soldiers and bystanders were wounded in the two-hour battle, in an old area of the Pacific coast city.
Tourists were evacuated from several hotels in the neighbourhood.
The battle began on Saturday evening, when troops received a tip-off that the gunmen had occupied a house, an officer in charge of the operation told AP.
The gunmen threw grenades at the soldiers and crashed their car when trying to flee, he added. Others arrived as reinforcements but were killed in the fighting.
The BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Mexico City says the fighting will be another deadly blow for Acapulco, whose tourist industry has recently been badly hit by the swine flu outbreak.
The officer says troops found four police officers when they entered the house, handcuffed and apparently held hostage.
"We found them like this, handcuffed, and they say they were kidnapped," he said.
"So, if they were kidnapped, as they say, then we rescued them."
Troops seized 36 rifles, 13 shotguns, two hand grenades, 13 fragmentation hand grenades, 3,525 cartridges, 180 magazines and eight vehicles in the operation, AFP news agency said.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a military campaign against drug cartels in 2006.
Tens of thousands of troops have since been deployed throughout the country to tackle drugs-related violence, which has claimed the lives of nearly 9,000 people in the last two years.
Acapulco has in the past been the scene of clashes between rival drug gangs but has been relatively free of violence in recent years, correspondents say.
Tags: 18 people, dead, clash, gun battle, soldiers, shot, Mexican mob, Avenida Rancho Grande,
Location: Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico (load item map)
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