Civilians must be protected after latest bombing in Colombo

The civilians were reportedly killed while members of the LTTE - armed with rocket-propelled grenades - shot indiscriminately through busy traffic. The LTTE members were fleeing after a failed attack thought to have been aimed at an as yet unidentified dignitary returning from parliament.

'Both the security forces and the LTTE must respect the lives of civilians in the area,' Amnesty International said.

Hundreds of security force personnel are currently searching for the four LTTE members suspected of involvement in the attack and reported to be hiding in a large apartment complex in the area. To Amnesty

International's knowledge, no civilians have been so far moved out of these apartments.

'Under international humanitarian standards all parties to a conflict must refrain from direct attacks on civilians or indiscriminate attacks and are obliged to take all necessary measures to prevent civilian

casualties,' Amnesty International said.

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