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 Post subject: Suicide bomber killes 20 soldiers and 8 civilians
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:01 pm 
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Suicide bomber killes 20 soldiers and 8 civilians
24 troops and 40 civilians wounded

Monday, February 09, 2009
@ Agencies / MOD


A female Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew herself up while she was being frisked by soldiers processing civilians fleeing Sri Lanka's northern war zone on Monday the military said. The blast killed two officers, 18 other soldiers, and 8 women and children, they said. 24 troops and 40 civilians
were wounded.

The blast took place at a crowded refugee camp in Vishvamadu, a town in the north of Sri Lanka which had been a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The town was recently captured by the Sri Lankan military as part of its ongoing offensive to corner the Tigers.

"A large number of civilians are coming in seeking protection from the army," said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. "When we were checking this female - by a woman soldier - she exploded herself. It shows their desperation at this stage in the war." Three woman soldiers were also among the military fatalities reported.

On Monday morning, more than 800 civilians had crossed the front lines and were being searched by soldiers before being sent to camps farther south, Brig. Nanayakkara said.

Footage run on state television showed a child in a purple checked dress lying lifeless on the ground. Other civilians lay dead nearby. Plastic chairs they were apparently sitting in as they waited to be processed were overturned, and blood stained the ground.

``The LTTE is now desperate because they don't have any control over the civilians now,'' Nanayakkara said, calling the rebels by the initials of their formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. ``They wanted to stop these people coming in.''

The army said that the injured civilians in the suicide blast were being airlifted to the Anuradhapura hospital and action has been taken to airlift some of the seriously injured to the Colombo National Hospital.

The army said that Air Force has already brought down at least thirty-five injured people to the Anuradhapura Hospital. So far 20 soldiers and eight civilians were reported killed due to the blast.

The United Nations condemned the bombing. ``We deplore the loss of civilian life in this targeted killing. It's a blow for people who have suffered so much,'' U.N. resident coordinator Neil Buhne said.

While condemning the today’s suicide attack on a government center that was registering internally displaced persons who had managed to exit the conflict area in northern Sri Lanka, the United States calls on the LTTE to allow all civilians freedom of movement.

The attack appeared aimed at one of the military's weak points, the processing of the masses of civilians trying to flee the area. It also highlighted concerns that the rebels were trying to blend in with the civilian population, so they can fight on using insurgent tactics.

The military has said the flow of civilians out of the war zone has increased in recent days, with 4,700 fleeing Sunday, bringing the total number of noncombatants to escape the war zone to 20,000 this year, Nanayakkara said.


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