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Sri Lankan military battles rebels in north

[AP, Monday, 19 January 2009 08:17 No Comment]

Sri Lankan troops faced off against ethnic Tamil insurgents in more than a dozen battles across the front lines of this island nation’s civil war, the military said Monday.

 

The fighting came as troops pushed forward with their offensive to destroy the Tamil Tigers after 25 years of warfare. In recent weeks the government seized control of the rebels’ administrative capital and boxed the insurgents into a shrinking pocket of territory in the northeast.

 

On Sunday, troops fought at least 21 gun, artillery and mortar battles with the rebels, the military said in a statement. Troops recovered the bodies of five slain rebel fighters, the military said.

Rebel spokesmen could not be contacted for comment because communication to the north has been severed.

 

With reporters banned from the war zone, Sri Lanka’s media must rely largely on government and rebel statements for information about the war.

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