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Salvador President’s Home Attacked in Rebel Offensive

From Reuters

Leftist rebels launched a major offensive early today, attacking the homes of President Alfredo Cristiani and a Cabinet minister and firing rockets at El Salvador’s electoral headquarters.

Cristiani was unhurt in the attack, armed forces spokesman Maj. Mauricio Chavez Caceres said, but an army captain and two policemen were killed in fighting in the area.

The offensive by rebels of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front was the first major attack in the Central American nation since November and coincided with peace moves between the rebels and the government.

Chavez Caceres said the rebels attacked Cristiani’s residence with rifle fire during a series of attacks in the exclusive Escalon area in the northwest of San Salvador.

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He said rebels also attacked the home of Public Works Minister Maurcio Stubick and the headquarters of El Salvador’s Central Electoral Council with rockets.

Fighting also erupted near the Sheraton hotel in Escalon, but Chavez Caceres said he could give no details.

More than 70,000 Salvadorans have died in the 10-year civil war.

Salvadoran rebel representatives said Monday that peace talks tentatively scheduled with the government for Thursday had been postponed so that both sides could present proposals to U.N. mediator Alvaro de Soto in Mexico.

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