Sri Lanka Tigers rebels deny firing at civilians
The Tamil Tigers on Wednesday denied gunning down civilians streaming out of Sri Lanka's war zone, and the Red Cross said 16 patients had been killed in shelling.
On Tuesday, the military accused the LTTE of killing 19 civilians and wounding 69 more trying to flee. Sri Lanka's government, aid agencies and rights groups say the LTTE has forced Tamils to stay in the war zone, which the rebels deny.
Pro-rebel web site www.TamilNet.com said on Wednesday the rebels blamed Sri Lankan troops for the shooting. The web site quoted C. Ilamparithy, whom it identified as LTTE political chief for the area in question, Puthukudiyiruppu.
Categorically denying reports by the Sri Lankan military officials in Colombo that the Tigers had fired at the fleeing civilians in Vanni, Puthukkudiyiruppu Divisional Political Head of the LTTE, C. Ilamparithy told TamilNet Wednesday that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) commando teams had entered the 'safety zone' in Udaiyaarkaddu and Chuthanthirapuram and had opened fire killing civilians and causing injuries to many in their attempt to forcibly move the civilians into the hands of the SLA. "Sri Lankan military machinery, which has relentlessly killed and maimed thousands of civilians during the past four weeks, is now engaged in a propaganda drive to divert the mounting pressure on the Colombo government by the International Community," Mr. Ilamparithy charged.
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