SRI LANKA: Civilian death toll rises as fighting continues

[IRIN]

As Sri Lankan government troops close in on the rebel Tamil Tigers, the UN has reported a rising number of civilian deaths in the northern battle zone. At least 52 people were killed in shelling in Suranthapuram village in the northeastern district of Mullaitivu when the area came under 16 hours of heavy shelling, including a cluster bomb attack, on 3 February, UN spokesman Gordon Weiss said, quoting UN staff stationed in the area. “We don’t know who is responsible or how many shells hit,” Weiss said, adding that patients in the only functioning hospital in the district had been evacuated on 4 February.

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