Gunmen killed three people and wounded two others who were attending a children's birthday party in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz, police and city officials said.

The shooting occurred Friday night in Juan Diaz Covarrubias, a community outside the city of Hueyapan de Ocampo.

The gunmen, who were wearing masks and armed with AK-47 assault rifles, opened fire on people attending the party at the El Gran Chaparral restaurant, which is located on the side of the Matamoros-Puerto Juarez federal highway.

The three fatalities included two men and a boy, officials said, adding that the two people wounded in the attack were transported to a clinic.

Veracruz, Mexico's third most populous state, has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the murder rate skyrocketing in the past few years.

The Gulf, Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in the state.

The port city of Veracruz will be the site of the 24th Ibero-American Summit of heads of state and government and will host the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games later this year. EFE