Soldiers shot dead eight suspected drug cartel members in two clashes near the industrial city of Monterrey on Friday, Mexico's Defense Department said, and eight other people were reported killed in the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco.

Soldiers intercepted a group of gunmen toting high-powered rifles and a grenade launcher and chased them into the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe, where a shootout left five gunmen dead, the department said in a statement.

Another group of gunmen later fired on soldiers in Juarez, another Monterrey suburb, sparking a firefight that left three attackers dead, it said.

Monterrey and the surrounding area has suffered a spike in drug violence as the Gulf Cartel battles the Zeta group for territory.

Nationwide, nearly 35,000 people have been killed in drug-gang violence since President Felipe Calderon deployed troops and federal police four years ago to crush the cartels in their strongholds.

In Acapulco, eight people were killed before dawn Friday in separate attacks throughout the city, including four teenagers, Guerrero state police said in a statement. Authorities said it is not clear if the attacks are related.

Acapulco had long been under the control of the Beltran Leyva gang, which broke up after leader Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines a year ago. The battle among remnants of the gang has caused an unprecedented spike in violence in the city.