Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

C. Bryson Hull, "Nearly 14,000 flee Sri Lanka's war zone-military," AlertNet, February 8, 2009.

[A situation that lately has often been compared with that in Gaza, both in similarities and differences. For example, this article twice mentions the Tamil Tiger website. I don't think I have ever seen the Hamas website mentioned in a news article, even though Hamas is a democratically elected government; LTTE isn't. Both are listed on western lists of terrorist organizations. Both governments refuse to negotiate. The word "exterminate" or "annihilate" is frequently used. -jlt]

COLOMBO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - More than 1,400 civilians poured out of Sri Lanka's war zone on Sunday, bringing the total in the last four days to nearly 14,000 as soldiers try to deal a death blow to the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said.

The rate of civilians trapped in fighting between the military and the cornered Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has picked up sharply this week, signalling the onset of faster military operations to wipe out the guerrillas.

More than 50,000 soldiers are converging on a sliver of jungle in the Indian Ocean island's northeast to crush the LTTE -- now estimated to number no more than 2,000 hardcore fighters -- and end a war that has flared off and on since 1983.

Combat raged at numerous locations in the 175 sq km (67 sq mile) battle zone, killing at least 11 guerrillas in a series of attacks and counter-attacks on Saturday, the military said.

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