U.S., Italian Ambassadors wounded in shell fire in Batticaloa
TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 05:13 GMT
U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Richard O'Blake, and the Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Pio Mariani, were slightley injuried by shrapnel of shells fired at Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) airfield in eastern Batticaloa, around 8:40 a.m, Tuesday. Reports said the diplomats were getting off a helicopter in which around 15 diplomats and senior officials flew to the eastern town when the shells hit the air field. Meanwhile, 2 SLAF helicopters that landed in Weber Stadium in Batticatoa city carrying Sri Lankan Disaster Management Minister narrowly escaped from 122 mm shell fire, according to military sources in Colombo.
The U.S. Ambassador has been airlifted to Colombo and the Italian Ambassador was admitted to Batticaloa hospital, according to initial reports.
Two Sri Lanka Air Force personnel, a Police, 2 Special Task Force personnel and a civilian were also reported wounded in the artillery fire.