Sri Lanka 'shelling kills hundreds'

Reports from northeastern war zone say that 250 civilians killed overnight.

    Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to
    flee the northeastern war zone [AFP]

    'Hospitals hit'

    About 2,000 people were killed by artillery fire, according to TamilNet, a pro-Tamil website.

    "More than 2,000 innocent civilians have been killed in the last 24 hours," the website quoted S Pathmanathan, the LTTE's chief arms smuggler, as saying.

    Focus: Sri Lanka
    Q&A: Sri Lanka's civil war
    The history of the Tamil Tigers
    Timeline: Conflict in Sri Lanka
    'High cost' of victory over Tigers
    Caught in the middle

    Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that the government's heavy artillery fire has hit civilians.

    "Hospitals are wherever medical personnel can provide assistance to people. They are often makeshift and sitting on the ground," Adams said.

    "They provide their co-ordinates to the government so that the government will not hit them. And yet our research shows that there have been 30 attacks that have hit hospitals.

    "These are government doctors who are providing the co-ordinates. These are not LTTE cadres."

    'No shelling'

    The military has denied carrying out the attacks.

    Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said: "[There] is no shelling taking place.

    "We have not used heavy weapons in the area where the Tamilnet says civilians had been killed."

    Shanmugarajah said that some government medical supplies had reached the zone in recent days, but staff and supply shortages meant that the situation was "overwhelming".

    The LTTE is believed to be close to defeat in its 26-year battle for a separate homeland in the northeast for the island nation's minority Tamils.

    The territory they hold has been reduced to a 5km strip of coastline following military advances this year.

    Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee to state-run camps outside the zone in recent weeks.

    It is difficult to verify reports on the conflict as the government bans journalists and international organisations from the area.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    As the oil-rich country fails to pay its debt, we examine what happens next and what it means for its people.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    There are reports Saudi Arabia is demanding money from the senior officials it recently arrested.