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Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka’s northeast

[IHT, Monday, 16 February 2009 11:34 No Comment]

Sri Lankan troops fought heavy battles against Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said Monday, as President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared his party’s victory in local elections an endorsement of his war effort.

 

The military has nearly routed the rebels after months of intense fighting, trapping them in shrinking coastal area in the northeast along with tens of thousands of fleeing civilians.

 

On Sunday, government forces captured thousands of rounds of ammunition, artillery shells and mortar systems, the military said.

 

Rajapaksa’s government has vowed to crush the separatist rebels and end this nation’s quarter-century civil war.

 

The ruling coalition won two weekend provincial elections, a victory Rajapaksa said gave further legitimacy to his war effort.

 

"The support and encouragement this victory gives our war heroes who are fighting the final battle to liberate the country from cruel terrorism is tremendous," the state-owned Daily News quoted him as saying.

 

Meanwhile, the Red Cross sent a ferry to carry out a third evacuation of hundreds of sick and wounded patients from a makeshift hospital along the coast inside the war zone, Red Cross spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne said.

[Full Coverage]

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