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Sri Lankan Air Force Attacks Tamil Tiger Headquarters in North

[Bloomberg, Thursday, 18 December 2008 07:54 No Comment]

Sri Lankan jets bombed Tamil Tiger headquarters in the northern town of Kilinochchi as the rebels claimed to have killed 170 soldiers in fighting near the town.

 

The air force raids also targeted Tiger “strongholds” west and north of the town and in the Iranamadu area, the Defense Ministry said. Security forces battled rebel fighters near Kilinochchi two days ago in fighting that left 120 rebels and 25 soldiers dead.

 

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said 130 Sri Lankan soldiers died in that battle and another 40 were killed in clashes on the Jaffna peninsula, according to TamilNet, a pro- rebel Web site.

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government has pledged to capture Kilinochchi by the end of this year as it seeks to crush the LTTE and end the 25-year civil war. The military said in October its forces had advanced to within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the town, though it has since revised their positions to about 20 kilometers away.

 

Access to the conflict zone is restricted to journalists and claims by both sides couldn’t immediately be verified.

 

Sri Lankan troops secured an LTTE defensive line west of the town of Paranthan after repelling a counter attack by rebel fighters, the Defense Ministry said on its Web site.

 

The military has been staging almost daily attacks on the Tamil Tigers in the northern Wanni region, where Kilinochchi lies, after capturing the Eastern Province in July last year.

 

The Tamil Tigers recovered 36 bodies of Sri Lankan soldiers after the fighting near Kilinochchi and at Kilaly, TamilNet said, citing unidentified LTTE officials.

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