Deadly shootouts, blockades paralyze Matamoros

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A series of deadly shootouts and blockades brought life to a standstill south of the border in Matamoros on Friday.

Residents reported a series of shootouts and blockades throughout different parts of the city.

Mexico's Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) confirmed one gun battle with armed men in the Colonia Pedro Moreno on the city's southside.

SEDENA officials reported that soldiers came under fire in the neighborhood where two gunmen were killed during the battle.

Soldiers patrolling the area heard cries for help from a group of alleged kidnapping victims inside a nearby building.

SEDENA officials reported that soldiers rescued 13 men and four women.

Authorities reporting seizing four assault rifles, two handguns, ammunition and one armored vehicle at the scene.

The body of a man believed to have been killed by gunmen was found inside the armored vehicle.

Both the Brownsville Herald and the McAllen-based Univsion affiliate KNVO-TV are reporting that a very high-level Zetas leader was killed in the firefight.

Authorities did not release the identities of those killed during the incident but SEDENA officials reported that none of them was the cartel leader named in the Herald and KNVO-TV reports.

According to the Border Wait Times website, the shootouts did not affection international bridges between Brownsville and Matamoros.