SLA attacks kill 23 Tamil civilians within 12 hours
[TamilNet, Monday, 13 April 2009, 10:43 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) fired shells and gunfire killed at least 23 civilians within the last 12 hours from 8:30 p.m. Sunday to 8:00 a.m. Monday, according to TamilNet correspondent reporting from the safety zone in Vanni. Most of the killings, numbering between 15 - 20, occurred in the early hours of Monday when SLA stepped up a fresh ground push to advance into the safety zone. The SLA is trying to advance during the night aiming for bifurcating and capturing northern or southern part of the so-called safety zone contradicting the announcement by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he had instructed his ground forces to "restrict their operations during the New Year to those of a defensive nature."
Most of the civilian casualties have been reported within Valaignarmadam and Mu'l'livaaykkaal.
Sporadic shelling and gunfire was reported after 8:00 a.m. when the fighting ceased.