car blast
The National Guard reported on Thursday that the incident occurred late Wednesday in Celaya, a city in the north-central state of Guanajuato. This is a representational image. Prathaan/Gettyimages

In an incident in the cartel-controlled Mexican city, an apparent booby trap or car bomb detonated, resulting in injuries to several officers of the National Guard.

The officers approached the vehicle to inspect it before the explosion occurred.

The National Guard reported on Thursday that the incident took place late Wednesday in Celaya, a city located in the north-central state of Guanajuato.

The area has been plagued by a violent territorial dispute between the Jalisco and Santa Rosa de Lima drug cartels that has persisted for years.

The utilization of a car bomb with the intent to harm law enforcement personnel signifies a dangerous escalation in the ongoing conflict between rival cartels.

This incident has prompted some observers to draw parallels to a car bomb explosion in 2010, which claimed the lives of three individuals in Ciudad Juarez during the height of the drug war spanning from 2006 to 2012.

According to reports, the National Guard officers were responding to a report regarding a parked vehicle that appeared to contain bodies. As they approached the vehicle, it detonated, causing the officers to be thrown by the force of the blast.

At present, there is no immediate information available on the condition of the wounded officers, although it has been reported that at least three suffered significant injuries requiring hospitalization.

Over the past two decades, Mexican drug cartels have occasionally employed improvised explosive devices (IEDs). However, according to security analyst David Saucedo, Wednesday's car bomb incident in Guanajuato suggests a potential shift towards more terrorist-style tactics.

Saucedo further noted that the explosion may highlight vulnerabilities within Mexico's National Guard, a quasi-military law enforcement agency established by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with the aim of combating criminal activities and maintaining public security.

"These are high-impact actions that seek to create terror in the population and create massive coverage in the media and social media," Saucedo said.

"Attacks with car bombs allow gangs to cause casualties among their rivals with no risk. Making such bombs is cheap and low risk."

According to security analyst David Saucedo, police in Celaya, who have tragically lost around a dozen colleagues since the start of the year, generally exercise greater caution when approaching abandoned vehicles.

However, on Wednesday, the National Guard officers apparently "fell into the trap" set by the perpetrators.

The use of bomb-dropping drones and improvised explosive devices by rival drug cartels in the neighboring state of Michoacan has been observed for the past couple of years.

Additionally, there have been previous instances of suspicious explosions in Guanajuato, indicating the presence of such dangerous tactics in the region.

During his press briefing on Thursday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated his willingness to investigate the state police officials as demanded by the gang, but he emphasized that the release of the abducted officers must occur first.

The president has consistently expressed his belief that Mexico's issue of drug cartel violence is being effectively managed and decreasing.

Lopez Obrador has adopted a non-confrontational and somewhat paternalistic approach towards the cartels, Al Jazeera reported.

"The first thing is for them to free the victims without any conditions," Lopez Obrador said. "We are going to investigate the conduct of these three officials ... but first, they have to release them."

On Wednesday, he warned the gang to release the kidnapped officers or "I'm going to tell on them to their fathers and grandfathers."

It appears that on Thursday, during his address, President Lopez Obrador briefly mentioned the kidnapping incident but then proceeded to discuss unrelated topics such as his breakfast menu and playing a tape of his favorite new song to influence the musical preferences of young people.

The explosion in Guanajuato coincided with a separate incident in the border state of Chihuahua. In the town of Guachochi, authorities reported the discovery of two burned-out vehicles and the deaths of eight individuals, indicating an apparent clash between drug cartels.

Guachochi is situated in a mountainous region near the border of the states of Sinaloa and Durango.

The area where this incident occurred is recognized for its drug cartel presence and drug production activities.

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