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Guerrilla Attack Kills 17

September 2, 1988

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ Leftist rebels attacked a provincial military post with mortars and rifles Thursday, killing 17 people and wounding 13 others in a four-hour battle, the Defense Ministry said.

The action was one of the most serious by the guerrillas in the past seven months.

Col. Carlos Herrarte, military commander of the area, said in a radio interview that about 300 guerrillas took part in the attack on the post at Tejutepeque, in Cabanas province about 40 miles northeast of San Salvador.

Thirteen guardsmen and four guerrillas died in the fighting, and 12 guardsmen and one civilian were wounded, the Defense Ministry communique said.

A few hours after the attack, a bus ran over a mine on the road to Tejutepeque, injuring two passengers, the ministry said.

In the early years of the 9-year-old war against the U.S.-backed government, Tejutepeque was considered a stronghold and later became one of their most frequent targets.

The last major action by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, the umbrella organization for the five guerrilla groups fighting the government, was in February. About 600 rebels attacked the 6th Infantry Brigade base in Usulutan, 110 miles east of San Salvador. Eighteen people were killed.

About 65,000 people have been killed in the war, most of them civilians.