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Sri Lanka Tigers attack bus carrying war refugees: military

February 14, 2009 (AFP) - Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels lobbed a grenade and opened fire at a bus transporting civilians out of Sri Lanka's war zone on Saturday, killing one woman and wounding 13, the defence ministry said.
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Sri Lanka has resisted calls for a "no-fire period," amid claims from relief agencies that a "humanitarian catastrophe" was unfolding in the island's war zone.

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Foreign governments as well as rights groups have asked Tamil Tigers to allow civilians free movement.

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The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked the bus at Puliyankulam in the island's north while it headed to the government-held town of Vavuniya, the ministry said.

It said four women and two girls were among those shot by the gunmen in the pre-dawn attack.

The government accuses the LTTE of using some 100,000 Tamil civilians as a human shield after military forces cornered the guerrillas in a narrow strip of jungle in the island's north-east.

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However, official figures showed 37,420 people had crossed the front lines this year, with nearly 35,000 making the hazardous journey this month alone to seek shelter with security forces.

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The Red Cross says hundreds of non-combatants have already been killed

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