4TH LEAD (Adds: Casualty details)

50 civilians killed, 200 wounded, renewed SLA offensive

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 August 2006, 04:59 GMT]
Atleast 50 civilians were killed and more than 200 were injured in Sri Lankan forces aerial bombardment and artillery attacks, Thursday morning, in Kathiraveli and surrounding villages as thousands of civilians were still fleeing the areas. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) launched a fresh offensive, involving thousands of troopers, from Kallaru SLA camp towards Maavilaru sluice-gate while launching indiscriminate aerial and artillery attacks on Eachilampathu and it's suburbs. Liberation Tigers Military Spokesman Irasaiah Ilanthirayan, speaking from Kilinochchi said: "We can only interpret this as Colombo's declaration of war."

SLA sources in Colombo said troops have advanced towards Maavilaru sluice.

The bombardment was going on from Thursday morning around 4:00 a.m.

Civil sources said at least fifteen bodies of civilians were located in Kathiraveli area, about 70 k.m., north of Batticaloa.

Thousands of civilians were still fleeing Eachilampathu division, south of Trincomalee, towards Vaharai in Batticaloa north, the sources added.

The LTTE fighters in the area were engaged in heavy fighting with the ground troops of the Sri Lanka Army, according to Mr. Ilanthirayan.

Unconfirmed reports said atleast 45 SLA soldiers were injured in the fighting, Thursday. Details of LTTE casualities were not known.

Meanwhile, Colombo media quoting Kantalai hospital sources said 22 SLA soldiers injured in the heavy fighting, in Serunuwara sector, thursday, were brought to Kantalai government hospital.

Nine injured SLA soldiers were admitted to the Pollonaruwa hospital, the media sources said.


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