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125 killed in 3 days of gang violence in El Salvador, government says

FILE - In this May 26, 2015 file photo, a forensic worker closes a morgue refrigerator door after placing a suspected gang member's body inside at the Institute of Legal Medicine in San Salvador, El Salvador. Authorities said on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 that at least 125 people have been killed in the last three days as a wave of violence continues to plague the Central American nation. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

FILE - In this May 26, 2015 file photo, a forensic worker closes a morgue refrigerator door after placing a suspected gang member's body inside at the Institute of Legal Medicine in San Salvador, El Salvador. Authorities said on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 that at least 125 people have been killed in the last three days as a wave of violence continues to plague the Central American nation. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

At least 125 people have been killed in El Salvador in the last three days, authorities said Wednesday as a wave of violence continues to plague the Central American nation.

National Police deputy director Howard Cotto reported that 40 people were slain on Sunday, 42 on Monday and 43 on Tuesday.

An anti-crime crackdown has led gangs to ramp up violence and many of the killings are related to internal purges or turf wars between rivals, Justice and Public Security Minister Benito Lara said.

Cotto said most of the victims are believed to be "gang members who in some way have betrayed the gangs and are murdered by those same groups."

Authorities say gangs are trying to pressure the government into negotiating a truce like a previous one in 2012, during which homicide rates fell notably. The truce has since fallen apart.

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The government has said it will not negotiate with criminals or give in to gang demands that their leaders be transferred out of a maximum-security prison.

Lara said the country of 6 million people is confronting "a very complicated situation."

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