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El Salvador deploys 4,000 security personnel to root out gang members near capital

El Salvador sent more than 4,000 security forces into three communities on the outskirts of the capital to root out gang members Wednesday, as President Nayib Bukele prepared to request another extension of emergency powers to combat crime.

Bukele announced the pre-dawn operation in a slickly produced video posted to the platform X. Soldiers and police were sent to surround the densely populated communities of Popotlan, Valle Verde and La Campanera outside San Salvador, the president said.

“We are not going to stop until we capture the last terrorist that remains,” Bukele wrote, using a phrase that typically refers to members of gangs who have been accused of drug trafficking, protection rackets and extortion. “We won’t allow small remnants to regroup and take away the peace that has cost so much.”

In December 2022, more than 10,000 members of the security forces entered La Campanera and other communities of the Soyapango municipality rounding up gang members.

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