Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday dismissed the government's announcement of a two-day cease-fire as insincere and called for a permanent, internationally arranged truce.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the military to halt its offensives against the cornered rebels for the Sri Lankan new year. The cease-fire expires Tuesday.
The military asked tens of thousands of trapped civilians to take advantage of the lull in fighting and flee the rebel-controlled war zone. However, only about 44 people crossed into government territory on the first day.
A Tamil rebel statement Tuesday called the government's truce an "act of hoodwinking" and said a "cease-fire under the auspices of the international community alone, will be effective and productive."