El Salvador starts new year with 13 deaths
Thirteen people died in separate violent incidents in El Salvador on Friday, including five gang members who tried to gun down police, authorities said.
The bloodshed confirmed the Central American country's reputation for extreme violence, much of it from brutal armed gangs.
Police said the five gang members opened fire from a moving taxi on officers patrolling the town of Valle Nuevo, southeast of the capital.
The officers immediately returned fire and killed the five, according to an official statement.
Separately, suspected gang members wielding M-16 assault rifles murdered five people in different areas in the town of San Antonio Silva, 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of the capital.
The state prosecutor's office also said two people were murdered in a rural area in Nueva Concepcion, in the north of the country.
And a gang member was violently killed in the central town of Zacatecoluca.
El Salvador and neighboring Honduras are considered the two deadliest countries in the world not suffering war.
According to a preliminary toll from the police, there were 6,670 murders in El Salvador in 2015, between January 1 and December 30. That equates to 104 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
There are an estimated 72,000 gang members in the country, of whom 13,000 are behind bars.
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