Tamil Tigers yesterday warned the Sri Lankan government that it could face "serious repercussions" after an air force raid allegedly killed 16 Tamils a day before, including eight children.
The air force said it had targeted a base operated by the Sea Tigers, the rebel naval wing, in the northwest and has denied targeting civilians.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs expressed concerns over civilians deaths in the air raid.
"Sri Lankans continue to suffer deeply due to this conflict, and today's loss of life is a source of deepest concern," Margareta Wahlstrom, a UN official for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, said in a statement.
Wahlstrom said that both sides to the conflict should take all measures to protect civilians, adding that the UN had "too often seen them fall short in this duty."
Seevaratnam Puleedevan, a senior rebel official, said the death toll from the air raid rose to 16 yesterday when two injured children succumbing to their injuries. He suggested the rebels would retaliate.
"We condemn this brutal attack and we warn the Sri Lanka state of serious repercussions," Puleedevan said by telephone from insurgent headquarters in northern Kilinochchi. "It will be serious."
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