26 killed in fiery attack on bar in Mexico

Gang members burst into a bar, blocked all the exits and then started a fire that killed 26 people and injured about a dozen others, Mexican officials.Authorities said the attack in the Gulf coast city of Coatzacoalcos late Tuesday apparently was overseen by a man who had been recently arrested but released.“The criminals went in, closed the doors, the emergency exits, and set fire to the place,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at his daily morning news conference.Veracruz state police said the attack targeted the “Bar Caballo Blanco,” or “White Horse Bar.” It advertised “quality, security and service,” private rooms for $7.50 “all night,” ”sexy girls” and a pole dance contest.It is located just off a busy commercial street in Coatzacoalcos, a city whose main industry has long been oil and oil refining.On Wednesday afternoon, relatives of the victims gathered anxiously outside state prosecutors’ offices with photos that could be used to identify their loved ones.Those who had confirmation sat weeping in plastic chairs.Vanessa Galindo Blas, 32, said her husband died in the fire. She sat shouting: “He didn’t deserve this. Why did they do this to me? I don’t to be here. I want to be with you.”She said her 29-year-old husband, Erick Hernández Enriquez, worked as the DJ in the bar and left behind three children aged 4, 5 and 10.“I don’t know how to tell my children,” Galindo Blas wept, as her sister-in-law, Vanesa Hernandez, held her and sobbed. “He worked honorably for his children — that was the only reason he was in that place.”Another victim at the ill-fated bar was Habib Ojeda Sierra, 23, a grocery store worker who left two children behind.His aunt, Alicia Sierra, expressed the same disbelief that anyone could have sealed her nephew, who was asthmatic, inside a burning building.“They are cowards who don’t value human lives. Why didn’t they let them out?” Sierra said outside the office where identifications of the bodies were being confirmed. “If they had some problem with the owner, why didn’t they go after him?”Among the dead were two Filipino sailors. Ramón Guzman, the agent for the ship Caribe Lisa, said the two men had gone on shore leave after their ship arrived from Houston, and did not return. They were among those confirmed dead at the bar.