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Sri Lankan troops move in on Tigers | International | Reuters

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan soldiers battled into the last redoubt of the rebel Tamil Tigers Tuesday as the exodus of people fleeing the war zone reached more than 62,000, the military said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned the situation was "nothing short of catastrophic" and urged both sides to prevent further mass casualties among civilians, saying hundreds had been killed in the past 48 hours.

The neutral agency did not assign blame to either side.

The operation gathered speed after the military's noon (0630 GMT) deadline for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to surrender passed without any word from the separatists, in what appears to be the final act in Asia's longest-running war.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 04:57:51 PM EST
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Refugee tide threatens to overwhelm camps in Sri Lanka, says UN | World news | guardian.co.uk

Unicef said today it faced a "human avalanche" of destitute people in Sri Lanka as the country's military entered an established no-fire zone and freed 3,000 civilians trapped between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The UN children's agency has raised concerns that the overcrowded ­internment camps to which civilians have been taken would be unable to cope with the influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing the fighting. Sarah Crowe, of Unicef, said it was facing a "human avalanche" and described the situation as being "on a knife edge".

The Sri Lankan military said it had established new positions across the zone, penning the remaining Tamil Tiger fighters into a smaller area. The remaining rebels ignored a noon deadline to surrender.

The ministry of defence's website claimed that fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTEE) had fired on civilians attempting to cross out of the no-fire zone, while the rebels said 1,000 ­civilians died in a government raid on their territory which the military said freed thousands of noncombatants from the war zone. The military denied the accusation.

Neither report could be confirmed because independent reporters are banned from entering the area.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 05:06:01 PM EST
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