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Mexican Interior Minister Blake Mora killed in helicopter crash

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Forotv-Televisa via APTN/AP

(Read caption) In this video frame grab image taken from Televisa's Forotv via APTN, investigators examine the wreckage of a helicopter that was carrying Mexico's Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, in a mountainous area of Mexico state southeast of Mexico City, Friday. The Mexican government said Friday, that Mora, Mexico's No. 2 government official next to the president, died in the helicopter crash with seven others, including the pilot.

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Dealing a symbolic blow to Mexico’s fight against organized crime, Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash Friday.

The chopper went down in the southern part of Mexico City on its way to a prosecutors meeting in the neighboring state of Morelos.

It is unclear what caused the crash. "We are investigating all possible causes of this unfortunate incident," Alejandra Sota, the government's national security spokeswoman, said at a news conference Friday.

Mr. Blake Mora was in charge of everything from navigating congressional opposition, to national disasters, to security. He was one face of Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s military-led strategy against drug trafficking organizations, which has taken more than 40,000 lives in five years.

He is the fourth interior minister under President Calderon. Another was also killed in an aviation accident three years ago.

The accident, while tragic, is likely to have little impact President Calderon’s efforts to take down drug traffickers. “For Calderon it’s certainly a blow, but his strategy will continue,” says Alejandro Schtulmann, head of research at the Emerging Markets Political Risk Analysis consulting firm in Mexico City.

The accident comes three years, almost to the day, since Mexico’s former interior minister Juan Camilo Mouriño was killed in a plane crash. Mr. Mouriño, along with several others, was traveling in a small plane that crashed into a major road in the heart of Mexico City during rush hour traffic.

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