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AP

By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A series of satellite images taken over Sri Lanka’s former war zone showed the existence of large grave sites and evidence of possible mortar positions near areas that had been packed with trapped civilians, a human rights group said Thursday.

The release of the images was intended to challenge government claims that the military had ceased using heavy weapons in the final months of its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels in the jungles of the north to prevent large-scale civilian deaths.

U.N. reports show more than 7,000 civilians were killed in fighting between mid-January and May, when the military routed the remaining rebels. Rights groups accused the government of heavily shelling civilian areas and the rebels of holding tens of thousands of noncombatants as human shields. Both sides denied the accusations. (more…)

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