MEXICO CITY - Mexico's government criticized the U.S. Border Patrol for firing tear gas into Mexican territory, a new tactic that U.S. authorities say protects agents against rocks and other projectiles hurled at them from across the border.

U.S. agents fired three canisters of tear gas or pepper spray Friday into the Tijuana neighborhood of Colonia Libertad, the latest of several counterattacks in recent months, according to U.S. and Mexican authorities. Two canisters exploded, but no one was injured.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said it would investigate the incidents, which it called "unnecessary, unacceptable and out of place."

"The Mexican government fervently rejects these types of measure that affect Mexican nationals," the department said in a statement, adding that it would seek to resolve the situation through dialogue.

James Jacques, a Border Patrol spokesman in San Diego, said U.S. authorities would welcome an opportunity to meet with Mexican counterparts "to stop the violence and make the border safer."

The Border Patrol has defended the use of tear gas and other weapons, saying its agents are increasingly targeted from across the border with objects such as bottles, bricks and rocks - sometimes wrapped in cloth and lit on fire.

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