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Eight killed, 14 wounded in mine blast: ICRC

Written by: Staff
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Colombo, Jun 7 (UNI) At least eight civilians were killed and 14 wounded in a claymore explosion in the LTTE-held restive eastern Batticaloa district today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said here.

''A mine explosion killed eight civilians and wounded 14 in the area of Vadamunai in the Batticaloa district this morning. The ICRC staff in Batticaloa was informed around noon time and agreed to evacuate the injured civilians to the Batticaloa hospital,'' the ICRC said in a statement here.

According to the statement, a joined ICRC-Italian Red Cross team with the help of a local doctor has transported the seriously wounded seven civilians -- three women, two children and an infant -- to the Batticaloa hospital for treatment.

''One woman died before reaching the Batticaloa hospital,'' the ICRC statement said, adding that the evacuation was agreed upon and was made in ''good coordination'' with the government military authorities and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The ICRC statement came after the pro-LTTE Tamilnet website, accused the Sri Lankan military for the attack.

''The Sri Lankan army troopers, who had moved beyond the forward defence line of the LTTE, were behind the attack'' the website report said, adding that the tractor that came under the pressure mine attack was carrying civilians to Vadamunai village from Kiran.

The government military, however, has vehemently denied the LTTE charges as baseless.

''The security forces do not go and operate in those areas. We totally reject these accusations,'' military spokesman, Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said.

The ICRC is present in Sri Lanka since 1989 and works to protect and assists civilians and unarmed combatants in situations of armed conflict.

UNI XC PM HT2145

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