Gunmen opened fire on activists from El Salvador’s main opposition party, killing two people, a rare political attack that has shocked one of Latin America’s most violent countries.
The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) supporters were returning from a campaign rally when their lorry came under fire by suspects in a car.
The attack on the left-wing party came four weeks before legislative and municipal elections are due to be held.
Three people have been arrested.
The attack happened in the centre of the capital, San Salvador, on Sunday afternoon local time in front of one of the offices of the FMLN party. Five other people were injured
Party activists had attended a rally launching the campaign for mayor of FMLN’s candidate Rogelio Canales.
Nidia Díaz, a FMLN lawmaker, said she saw the car with the attackers block the path of an open-backed lorry carrying party supporters. “A man got out with a gun in his hand and started shooting,” she tweeted.
El Salvador’s Attorney General, Raúl Melara, called the attack “serious”, saying: “The electoral battle cannot become a bloodbath”.
In a reference to the country’s civil war, San Salvador’s mayor, Neto Muyshondt, also condemned the attack, calling it a “step back” in El Salvador’s history.
According to a 1993 United Nations Truth Commission report, 80,000 people were killed in the conflict, which lasted from 1979 until a peace deal was signed in 1992.
The FMLN party was formed by left-wing rebels as part of the peace deal and quickly became an influential force.
It won the 2014 presidential election and its candidate, Salvador Sánchez Ceren, served as president until 2019.
In the most recent presidential election, however, the FMLN’s candidate lost out to Nayib Bukele of the centre-right Gana party.
Some FMLN politicians have accused President Bukele of inciting violence against their party and of “threatening anyone who doesn’t agree with him”.
Mr Bukele tweeted that all those responsible for the attack would “pay for their acts”.