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Battle for Sri Lanka rebel HQ rages:

[Reuters, Monday, 22 December 2008 16:40 No Comment]

Heavy fighting erupted on Monday as soldiers seized defenses around the separatist Tamil Tigers’ self-proclaimed capital, killing at least 66 combatants, the military said.


And as battles around the town of Kilinochchi intensified for a second week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to free civilians trapped in the war zone by year’s end or else face listing as a terrorist group.


The military has been moving on Kilinochchi since September, but the past two weeks’ assault on the rebels’ heavy earthen defenses or bunds encircling the town’s outskirts has seen both sides claiming increasingly higher death tolls.


"The army’s 57th Division and Task Force 1 today captured 2 Km (1 mile) in the bund and fighting in the area killed 56 LTTE terrorists and wounded 86," a spokesman at the Media Centre for National Security said on customary condition of anonymity. Ten soldiers were killed and 40 were injured, he said.


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