Sri Lankan armed forces accused of bombing hospital

Sri Lankan government forces are accused of shelling a hospital, killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 50 others. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and medical sources said the makeshift hospital in Mullivaikal was hit by artillery fire early on May 12. Civilians who had been injured in attacks over the weekend were among the dead. The claims are impossible to verify as reporters and aid groups are banned from the area of fighting.

The attack came after a weekend of heavy shelling that killed more than 300 and injured some 1,000 civilians in what UN spokesman Gray Weiss described as a “bloodbath.” Sri Lanka lodged a protest over the comment, saying civilians had been targeted by the rebels or caught in the crossfire. In any case, many of the casualties from that fighting had been taken to the Mullivaikal hospital. The UN estimates that about 50,000 civilians are still trapped in the narrow strip of land held by the separatist LTTE.

Seevaratnam Puleedevan, a Tamil Tiger spokesman, said civilians were fleeing in all directions inside the besieged rebel-controlled zone. “There’s no place to seek shelter or protect themselves,” he said. “We are really afraid that if the Sri Lankan government is not being pressured to stop the carnage, then many more civilians will die.” (AlJazeera, UPI, May 12)

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    From the BBC News:

    The UK has told Sri Lanka it may face a potential war crimes probe over deaths of civilians in the island’s conflict, a Foreign Office minister has said.

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