- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 3, 2009

SRI LANKA

Hospital shelled; 64 reported dead

COLOMBO | Sri Lankan forces shelled a makeshift hospital in the war zone Saturday, killing 64 civilians despite a pledge to stop using heavy weapons in its battle with the Tamil Tigers, a rebel-linked Web site said.

A health official in the war zone confirmed the hospital was hit twice by artillery throughout the day, though the official declined to say who was responsible. The military denied launching the attack.

Sri Lanka has come under increasing international pressure to halt its offensive against the rebels to safeguard the estimated 50,000 ethnic Tamil civilians trapped by the fighting.

The TamilNet Web site said the government hit the makeshift hospital at Mullivaaykkaal twice on Saturday morning. The attacks killed at least 64 patients and bystanders and wounded another 87, according to a government health official.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli air raids kill 2 in tunnel

GAZA CITY | Israeli warplanes bombed tunnels beneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Saturday, killing two Palestinians, after militants fired several mortars at Israel from the coastal territory, medical workers said.

The two Palestinian men were involved in digging the subterranean passages Israel says are used to smuggle weapons into Hamas-ruled Gaza. Israel had resumed aerial attacks Friday on the tunnels after a nearly two-month hiatus in fighting, after a rocket fired from Gaza struck inside Israel.

IRAN

President accused of faking support

TEHRAN | Opponents of Iran’s hard-line president accused him Saturday of faking support by busing in students and soldiers to attend his public appearances, a strategy brought to light by the death of a student in a bus crash.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s top challenger in the June 12 vote, reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, said it appeared more important for Mr. Ahmadinejad to bus in people for his public speeches than to try to resolve double-digit inflation and unemployment.

“It appears that luring students and crowds for the government is more important than tackling unemployment and inflation,” Mr. Mousavi said in comments posted Saturday on his campaign Web site.

GERMANY

273 police hurt in May Day riots

BERLIN | More than 270 police officers were injured in this year’s May Day riots in the German capital, prompting criticism Saturday of Berlin security officials and calls for more officers.

Though the majority of the 273 officers suffered only minor injuries Friday, 14 were hurt badly enough that they will need to take time off work, said Berlin police Chief Dieter Glietsch.

In all, 5,800 police officers were on hand to try to keep a lid on the violence that has become a yearly ritual in Berlin. They used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons as some of the roughly 5,000 leftist demonstrators threw stones and bottles.

Dozens of demonstrators were injured and 289 were arrested. Windows were broken at a bank and a fire station.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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