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Arsonists torch bus in El Salvador, killing 11

Torched bus in Mejicanos, near San Salvador, on 20/6/2010
Image caption Police say three people have been arrested

At least 11 people were killed and eight injured after arsonists torched a bus full of passengers in El Salvador.

Gangs have been blamed for the attack on the public bus in a crime-ridden district near the capital San Salvador.

Reports say gunmen also opened fire on another bus nearby, killing three people.

El Salvador is plagued by violent street gangs, known as "maras", who are believed to be behind many of the average 13 daily murders.

Witnesses in Mejicanos, near San Salvador, said attackers on motorbikes targeted the first bus, dousing it with petrol and closing the doors on the passengers inside.

Police tried to break the windows of the bus to free the passengers, the authorities said.

The second attack happened in the same area, with gunmen killing an adult and two girls, the AFP news agency reports.

The Sunday evening attacks have been blamed by police commissioner Roberto Villalobos on Mara 18 gang members.

He said there were "no clear motives" for the attacks.

"It seems the gang wanted to prove something to the authorities, for the actions being taken against gangs and crime," he told the AFP news agency.

Other reports suggest the drivers were targeted as a reprisal for not paying gang-imposed tolls.

Three people have been detained, with one smelling of petrol, police said.

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