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World Briefing / Sri Lanka

Patients killed as shells hit hospital in war zone

February 02, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Three artillery barrages slammed into a hospital's pediatrics ward and women's wing in Sri Lanka's chaotic war zone, killing nine patients, the region's top health official and international aid groups said.

The third attack hit the hospital about midnight, said U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss.

"It seems to have struck the pediatric ward, a 30-bed ward filled to overflowing," he said today.

"We're at a loss to understand why people would shell a hospital."

Dr. Thurairajah Varatharajah at Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital said that in another attack, the shells appeared to have been fired by the Sri Lankan army and killed five.

The Red Cross said another attack killed two people, but it did not say which side fired. Varatharajah said only one person was killed in that attack.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the army was not responsible and blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels.

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