Sri Lankan military says at least 17 people shot dead while escaping war zone.
The government has accused the LTTE, who have recently lost strongholds to government forces in the north, of holding scores of people as human shields and killing civilians who want to escape.
The LTTE has denied the allegations.
About 40 people are being killed every day in Sri Lanka’s conflict zones, Thurairajah Varatharajah, a doctor at a makeshift hospital in LTTE-held Putumattalan village, said on Friday.
The hospital is in a newly demarcated safe area for civilians to shelter as troops battle LTTE fighters cornered in a narrow strip of jungle in the island’s northeast.
Sarasi Wijeratne, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said wounded civilians continue to flock to the makeshift hospital, which is overwhelmed despite moving 640 patients and their relatives from the facility earlier this week.
On Friday, troops fought the LTTE near Vishwamadu village, which was recently captured by the government. Five bodies along with assault rifles were found, Nanayakkara said.
Recent military gains have provided the government with what it says is its best chance of defeating the LTTE and ending their 25-year campaign for an independent homeland for the country’s ethnic minority Tamils.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence till date.