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'UN evacuates hundreds from SL battle zone'

world Updated: Jan 30, 2009 03:19 IST

AFP
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The UN on Thursday evacuated hundreds of "critically wounded" people from Sri Lanka's northeast where troops and Tamil rebels are locked in fierce combat, a spokesman told AFP.

"About 350 critically wounded civilians, including 50 children, crossed the front lines," UN spokesman Gordon Weiss said, adding that the evacuation was the result of lengthy negotiations with the rebels.

A convoy of ambulances had been trapped for days in Puthukkudiriruppu, which lies behind Tamil Tiger front lines in the embattled district of Mullaittivu, because the rebels had refused it permission to leave.