The army early Wednesday took control of the affluent Escalon neighborhood where leftist rebels had blown up utility posts, occupied several homes and battled soldiers.

The government said one civilian was killed and six residents were wounded in the fighting, which began Tuesday night and continued sporadically overnight. Soldiers on the scene said a few troops also were wounded, but official figures on government casualties had not been issued by this morning.The 20 or so rebels who had infiltrated the neighborhood from bases on the San Salvador volcano appeared to have withdrawn by dawn. By early morning, several light tanks and an estimated 300 infantry soldiers patrolled Escalon's streets.

There were no exchanges of fire after daylight.

Several sabotaged utility posts were down along Escalon's streets. The walls surrounding some luxurious houses had been inscribed with guerrilla slogans, including "If it's war they want, war they'll get."

The government, in a communique, termed the incursion "a totally terrorist action and a flagrant violation of human rights." It accused the guerrillas of "shielding themselves with the civilian population in order to sow pain and destruction."

The communique also said the incursion was part of a guerrilla plan to hinder nationwide legislative and municipal elections scheduled for March 10.