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Military operation threatens ICRC aid

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The ongoing Sri Lankan military operation targeting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam militant group is increasingly overwhelming humanitarian capabilities.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday the Sri Lankan military offensive has intensified in recent weeks, targeting LTTE strongholds in the northern Vanni district of the country.

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The increased level of violence has trapped an estimated 250,000 civilians who are often caught in the middle of the conflict. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded, which has begun to overwhelm medical facilities and humanitarian aid operations, the ICRC reported.

"People are being caught in the crossfire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling and several aid workers have been injured while evacuating the wounded," Jacques de Maio, ICRC head of operations for South Asia, said in a statement.

"The violence is preventing the International Committee of the Red Cross from operating in the region," he said.

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