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Fierce fighting rages in S Lanka

[BBC, Thursday, 2 April 2009 07:30 No Comment]

_45617173_troops_afp226b There have been intense clashes between Sri Lankan security forces and Tamil Tigers in the country’s north-east.

The Sri Lankan defence ministry says troops have encircled scores of Tamil Tigers in a small stretch of land in Mullaitivu district.

 

But pro-rebel websites say Tamil Tiger guerrillas have mounted fierce counter-attacks in the area inflicting heavy casualties on troops.

 

The two versions of events cannot be independently verified.

 

Final phase

The Sri Lankan military says that it is on the final phase of its offensive to capture remaining Tamil Tiger positions in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district.

There are reports of ferocious close-quarter battles between the advancing soldiers and the rebels.

The defence ministry says that troops have now surrounded a group of Tamil Tigers in about a square kilometre of territory after capturing a key supply route of the rebels in the Puthukudiyiruppu area.

 

According to the defence ministry, heavy fighting is still continuing in the area and soldiers have recovered at least 21 bodies of rebels killed in the fighting on Wednesday.

 

The Tamil Tigers have not reacted to the military’s version of events.

 

But pro-rebel websites said the guerrillas had been fiercely resisting the army’s advance and that hundreds of soldiers had been killed in the fighting.

 

Independent journalists are not allowed to report from inside the conflict zone.

[Full Coverage]

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