Sri Lanka's government has released what it says is video footage captured from Tamil Tiger rebels, showing what officials say are rebels disguising themselves as civilians and forcing non-combatants to work for them.
The video shows men wearing civilian clothes and carrying tools, walking in a line behind a rebel fighter.
The footage also shows men in civilian clothing firing a heavy machine gun, and other men in plain clothes helping camouflage an armored vehicle with tree branches.
Fighting continued Thursday as the military pressed ahead with its offensive aimed at capturing the last remaining rebel-held territory. An army spokesman told VOA that the Tamil Tigers have been using suicide bombers against government troops.
It is not possible to verify the claims because independent observers are banned from the conflict zone.
On Wednesday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit the country and assess the treatment of civilians displaced by fighting in the northeast.
Mr. Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas said the secretary-general has not decided whether to accept the invitation, but feels that if his visit can save lives he will definitely consider it.
The invitation came as Tamil Tiger rebels accused the military of using heavy artillery in the war zone, killing dozens of civilians every day. They also alleged that civilians with them have begun dying of starvation because the government will not allow adequate food supplies into the zone.
Sri Lankan forces, who are poised for their final assault against the Tigers cornered into a tiny strip of territory, dismissed rebels' claims and accused them of holding the civilians as human shields.
The United Nations and a number of countries have urged both sides in the conflict to stop fighting to allow tens of thousands of trapped civilians to escape.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.