Three artillery barrages struck a hospital in Sri Lanka’s chaotic war zone, slamming into its paediatrics ward and women’s wing killing nine patients, the Red Cross said yesterday.
Dr Thurairajah Varatharajah, the top government health official in the area, said shells in at least two of the attacks yesterday appeared to have been fired by the Sri Lankan army.
They caused extensive damage to the overcrowded Puthukkud-iyiruppu hospital, one of the last functioning health institutions inside rebel-held territory, he said.
The three attacks hit a kitchen, a chapel and the women and children’s wing of the hospital, a Red Cross spokeswoman said. The attacks killed nine people and wounded 20 others, she said.
“It seems to have struck the paediatric ward, a 30-bed ward filled to overflowing,” a UN spokesman said.
The military has repeatedly denied killing civilians in their bid to wipe out the Tamil Tiger rebels and end the island nation’s 25-year-old civil war with the ethnic separatist group.