SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A street gang put a fake body in an abandoned car to lure police into a car-bomb attack, wounding two officers Monday, authorities said, in the latest in a round of killings of police and soldiers in El Salvador.
Officials 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 the capital.
The attack came after suspect gang members killed two police and three soldiers over the weekend. All were off-duty when they were attacked. Some were playing sports.
National police director Howard Cotto 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 (of attacks) on a national level for the Mara Salvatrucha gang,” Cotto said.
Gang expert Ricardo Sosa said MS-13 is angry about recent police raids aimed at the gang.
Sosa said the gang may also be using the killings to send a message to new 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,” Sosa said.