The death toll climbed as workers continued to pull bodies out of a burned casino in northern Mexico, where gunmen spread gasoline and ignited a fire that trapped and killed at least 53 gamblers and employees. Up to 80 people were in the casino when it was attacked.

Attorney General Leon Adrian de la Garza said a drug cartel was apparently responsible for the attack at the Casino Royale in Monterrey, though he didn't name which one. It was the second time in three months that the Casino Royale was targeted.

State police officials quoted survivors as saying armed men burst into the casino, apparently to rob it, and began dousing the premises with fuel from tanks they brought with them. 

"An act of terrorism has been committed," said Alejandro Poiré, the federal government's spokesman for security affairs. "This act of terror will not remain unpunished."