Sunday, May 10, 2009


The AP story says it all:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- A massive barrage of artillery in Sri Lanka's northern war zone killed at least 378 civilians and wounded 1,100 overnight, a government doctor said Sunday, calling it the bloodiest day he had seen in the government's offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

V. Shanmugarajah, a physician working in the war zone, said he feared many more may have been killed since some bodies were being buried on the spot without being brought to the makeshift hospital he runs.

"We are doing what is possible. The situation is overwhelming; nothing is within our control," he said.

Mr. Shanmugarajah described seeing shells fly through the air, with some falling close to the hospital, sending many to take shelter in bunkers.

The rebel-linked TamilNet Web site accused Sri Lankan forces of launching the attack, a charge the military denied.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said it was only using small arms in its effort to wipe out the Tamil Tiger rebel group and that there "is no shelling taking place."

The government vowed two weeks ago to cease firing heavy weapons into the tiny coastal strip that remained under rebel control in an effort to avoid civilian casualties. However, medical officials in the area have reported that airstrikes and artillery attacks have continued unabated, despite the presence of an estimated 50,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the tiny conflict zone.

Reports of the fighting are difficult to verify because the government bars journalists and aid workers from the war zone.

U.N. figures compiled last month showed that nearly 6,500 civilians had been killed early this year as the government renewed its efforts to end its 25-year civil war with the rebels.

The government has brushed off international calls for a humanitarian cease-fire, saying the beleaguered rebels would use any pause in fighting to regroup.

It has accused the rebels of using civilians in the north as human shields, and Brig. Nanayakkara said the insurgents shot families who tried to escape the war zone Saturday, killing nine people.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils, who have suffered decades of marginalization at the hands of governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority.

[A nasty series of photos that would make Pallywood blush here.]


naveen said...

As sri lankan i think i dont need to explain about a terrorist group.I think israelians know the reality of hamas rebels & how there suicide attacks. You know that LTTE the firstly introduce it in to the world in early 80s.They do whatever for their surrival. Now they confine to 2 1/2 S.KM area & cant fight against SL army anymore. They just shelling on their own people to gaining international attention. SL army have multi barrel rocket launchers & if they want to use it they can use it finish the war but they wont use it bcos of the why they just shelling on civilians? think about it....

Jewish Odysseus said...

Naveen, your points are well-taken. The SL army indeed seems to be confronted by a mirror-image of Hamas in the LTTE, and finally seems to be getting the upper hand on them. But notice that when, oh, 7 or 8 supposed Gaza civilians die in some shelling (by whatever side) it is a major international incident for weeks, while here a much larger number gets no attention at all.

Best wishes to the SL army, they seem on the brink of victory!