3rd Lead (Adds. ICRC statement)

8-year-boy killed in mortar fire in Muttur church, 3 wounded

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 August 2006, 10:36 GMT]
An 8-year-old boy was killed on the spot and 3 women were wounded in Muttur town when an artillery fell inside the premises of St. Anthony's Church where more than 600 Tamils have taken refuge since the fighting broke out between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last night. The wounded women, unable to be taken to hospital, were being treated at the church as the fighting resumed after a brief lull, civilian sources said.

The Tamil boy killed in artillery fire was identified as Aravinthan.

SLA troopers launched mortar fire on LTTE fighters moving into the area.

Part of the town has come under the controll of the Tigers, civilian sources said.

Erlier, a report from Muttur civil sources said a portion of the maternity ward of the Muttur district hospital was damaged when a shell hit the hospital, Wednesday morning. Some patients in the hospital are reportedly injured in the blast, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) said Wednesday that the organization was concerned about the injuries, loss of life and displacement of civilians resulting from the current upsurge in fighting.

"The ICRC reminds both parties to the conflict of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law. It urgently calls upon both parties to ensure that the civilian population and civilian objects are respected and protected in all circumstances. We are extremely worried about the situation of civilians caught up in the fighting and urge both parties to protect the civilian population against the effects of hostilities," said Toon Vendenhove, the ICRC's head delegation in Colombo.

"The ICRC maintains a confidential dialogue with both parties and is closely monitoring the situation on the ground. It stands ready to protect and assist those who are not or are no longer taking direct part in hostilities by providing them with health care, shelter and other vital necessities", the organization said.


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