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Asia Crisis

Sri Lanka says thousands fleeing fighting

COLOMBO, May 14 (Reuters) - Thousands of Sri Lankan civilians were crossing a lagoon on Thursday to escape the combat zone in the island nation's northeast, where Tamil rebels are surrounded in the final throes of a 25-year civil war, the military said.

"Already, 2,000 civilians have crossed the lagoon. There is a large number of people crossing, and the (rebels) fired at them, Four people were killed, 14 were wounded," military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanyakkara said.

The air force said aerial surveillance confirmed the reports. No independent confirmation was available. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Bryson Hull; Editing by Paul Tait)

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