At least three suspected gunmen died in a shootout with army troops in Monclova, a city in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, officials said.

The shootout occurred on Saturday and involved an army special operations unit, the Coahuila Attorney General's Office said.

The gunmen and soldiers engaged in the firefight around 1:00 a.m. Saturday on Bulevar Harold Pape in Monclova, the AG's office said.

The dead gunmen, who were not carrying identification, were between 20 and 25, the AG's office said.

Soldiers seized a 2008 Nissan Sentra, three AK-47 assault rifles, a grenade, three rockets, a rocket launcher and ammunition for AK-47s.

Monclova has been the scene in recent months of numerous shootouts between the rival Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels, as well as firefights involving cartel gunmen and the security forces.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has continued the strategy implemented by Calderon of taking on the cartels, but he has also called for bolstering intelligence capabilities and attacking criminal organizations' entire structures, not just kingpins. EFE