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US State Dept.: Decision To Allow Americans’ Departure Was Made Before U.S. Citizens Killed In Juarez

WASHINGTON (AP) – A State Department spokesman says the decision to authorize family members of U.S. consulate employees in six northern Mexican cities to leave those areas was made days before Saturday’s fatal shootings of three people associated with the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez.

Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters the decision – announced Sunday – had been made earlier in the week. He said he did not know the date, but that he learned of it Friday.

Crowley said the announcement was held until Sunday to couple it with an updated State Department travel warning for Americans in Mexico.

Crowley said the three people killed Saturday in Ciudad Juarez had attended the same birthday party shortly before the shootings.

He said it is not yet clear whether the three were targeted by the killers.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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