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Shelling displaces 40,000 Tamils in Lanka

The entire population of the Paddipallai division, numbering 20,000, had fled, reports PK Balachandran.
None | By PK Balachandran, Colombo
UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2007 11:46 AM IST

Over 40,000 Tamil civilians were displaced in the past two days alone by the heavily shelling of LTTE-held areas in the Eastern district of Batticaloa by the Sri Lankan Army, according to the LTTE's military spokesman Rasaiah Ilanthirayan.

The affected area is Kokkadicholai and the surrounding villages, where the LTTE is entrenched.

The entire population of the Paddipallai division, numbering 20,000, had fled. From the Vavunathivu and Kiran subdivisions, a total of 30,000 had been displaced so far.

Two Tamil civilians were killed and two girls fainted as a result of the shelling from the Weber stadium within Batticaloa town, Ilanthirayan said.

"We are deeply shocked and concerned that the international community is silent on this great human tragedy," he added.

Three-pronged attack blunted

The LTTE's spokesman said that the Sri Lankan Army's three-pronged offensive in Batticaloa south of the A-15 Batticaloa-Badulla road had been blunted.

"Our forces are pursuing the retreating Sri Lankan troops and doing cordon and search operations in the Mavidi Munmari area," Ilanthirayan said.

However, other informed sources said that there was no ground offensive as such. Sri Lankan forces were doing some small-scale operations in the Vavunathivu area, south west of Batticaloa town, to destroy the LTTE mortar bases there.

There was no attack on the Thoppigala jungle hideouts, though heavy shelling was on, the sources said.

According to the state-owned Daily News the Security Forces had captured four LTTE bases in the Peralu area north of Trincomalee.

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