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El Salvador records 51 violent deaths in a single day

In this May 28, 2015 photo, members of the fast response police units, known as Halcones, detain a suspected gang member. AP Photo/Manu Brabo

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Officials in El Salvador say the small country has recorded another milestone in criminal violence: At least 51 people were killed in a single day this week.

The National Civil Police force says Thursday’s toll surpasses the mark of 45 killed on Aug. 22.

READ MORE: 125 killings in 3 days as gang violence soars in El Salvador

Authorities in the nation of 6 million say the surge in violence is a result of a government crackdown that has led to gunfights between police and criminals, as well as gang battles over territory.

READ MORE: Homicides in El Salvador reach record as gang violence grows

Police on Friday also reported finding the body of a slain police officer. He’s the 45th officer this year to die at the hands of gangs. Sixteen soldiers and six prison guards also have been killed.

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The government says 3,942 people were slain in 2014, an increase of 1,429 over 2013.

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