About 300 militant leftists attacked the U.S. Embassy yesterday, some firing guns and screaming, "We will take the embassy!" authorities reported.
U.S. Marine guards and Salvadoran troops used tear gas to repel the invaders who climbed the embassy fence but were driven back before they could force their way into the three-story building. Two Marines were reported to have been slightly wounded.
"They surrounded the embassy building for a few minutes and they may have hurled a Molotov cocktail on the western side of the building," said embassy spokesman Vitas Dambrava.
Salvadoran troops and armored cars moved in to guard the embassy after the attack.
In Washington, State Department officials said one Marine guard was wounded when a bullet grazed his ear. No details were given about the second injured Marine, but the Washington officials said his wound was not serious.
There was no casualty report for the leftist invaders. At least 24 persons were killed and some 100 were wounded Monday in gun battles between leftists staging street forces backing the new military-civilian junta.
The 45-minute embassy attack occurred at midday, the Washington officials said. Salvadoran soldiers responded quickly to help the Americans and fired on the attackers.
Dambrava said the Marines did not directly participate in the fight. "Our Marines did not respond to the attacks," he said. He reported there was some gunshot damage to the embassy.
The Washington officials said the U.S. Marines used tear gas to repel the attackers and the Salvadoran troops used both tear gas and guns.