LTTE female suicide bomber kills 23, wounds 64 (Fourth Lead)February 9th, 2009 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Feb 9 (IANS) At least 23 people, including eight war-displaced civilians, were killed and 64 wounded when a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber mingling with the civilians fleeing the rebel-held war zone blew herself up Monday in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, defence authorities here said.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) woman suicide bomber mingling with hundreds of civilians entering army-held areas in the northern war-zone “blew herself at an IDP (Internally Displaced People) rescue centre, north of Vishwamadhu in Mullaitivu around 11.30 a.m”.
“Reports state that 15 army personnel and eight civilians were killed in the explosion. At least 24 army personnel and 40 civilians are reported to be injured,” the MCNS said.
“Among the civilians killed in the suicide attack are mostly women and children. Three of the army personnel who were killed were women soldiers,” it said.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said that a group of women soldiers was screening “the influx of female civilians when the LTTE female suicide cadre exploded herself at Vishwamadhu Suthanthirapuram area” in Mullaitivu.
Former LTTE military nerve centre, Mullaitivu town lying some 350 km north-east of here was taken by the military last month after months of fierce clashes.
Vishwamadhu and the adjoining Suthanthirapuram areas are on the east of the A-35 Paranthan-Mullaitivu road.
Nanayakkara said the wounded civilians were rushed to the medical centres of the army in the area before being transferred to the Vavuniya and Anuradhapura hospitals.
The military said the Sri Lanka Air Force has brought down at least 35 injured people to Anuradhapura and at least fifteen children were among the injured.
“This is yet another desperate attempt by the LTTE to prevent thousands of displaced civilians from fleeing the areas controlled by them and enter the government-held areas,” he said.
The suicide explosion has come at a time when the pro-LTTE websites have alleged that scores of civilians were killed in the fast shrinking LTTE-held areas due to shelling and aerial attacks during the past few days.
Denying these allegations, the military said the Tamil Tigers were now holed up in less than 200 sq km in Mullaitivu district and were holding thousands of civilians as human shield.