MS-13 Gang Put Fake Body in Car, Then Detonated a Bomb When Police Came

MS-13 Gang Put Fake Body in Car, Then Detonated a Bomb When Police Came

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — A street gang in El Salvador put a fake body in an abandoned car to lure police into a car-bomb attack, wounding two officers Monday, in the latest in a round of killings of police and soldiers in the country.

The authorities said suspected gang members wrapped a mannequin in blankets inside a car and then detonated explosives in the vehicle when police arrived to investigate what they thought was a body at a soccer field on the outskirts of San Salvador, the capital.

The attack came after suspected gang members killed two police officers and three soldiers over the weekend. All were off-duty when they were attacked. Some were playing sports.

Howard Cotto, the national police director, said the attacks were planned and carried out by the Mara Salvatrucha gang, known as MS-13.

“We have identified a group of about 10 suspects who are organizing this wave on a national level for the Mara Salvatrucha gang,” Mr. Cotto said.

MS-13 is angry about recent police raids aimed at the gang, according to Ricardo Sosa, an expert on the group.

Mr. Sosa said the gang may also be using the killings to send a message to the country’s incoming president, Nayib Bukele, who takes office June 1.

“I think they are sending a message to the new government saying that they control certain parts of the country, to see what the government’s reaction will be,” Mr. Sosa said.

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