Sri Lanka planes bomb rebel positions in north

 

Sri Lanka's air force bombed rebel positions in the far north on Saturday, targeting a gathering of Tamil Tiger leaders, while ground battles killed 10 rebels, the military said.

 

The air raids on rebel-held Kilinochchi were the latest engagement in an intensification of the 25-year civil war following the official scrapping of a truce with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam last week.

 

"Based on information about a gathering of Sea Tiger leaders, we have taken a target today on a Sea Tiger base in Puthukkudiyiruppu in Kilinochchi," said air force spokesman Wing Commander Andrew Wijesuriya.

 

Kilinochchi is the de facto capital of the LTTE fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east of the island. The Sea Tigers are its naval wing.

 

The Tigers were not immediately available for comment and the military's account of the air raid could not be independently confirmed.

 

The military said ground battles a day earlier in the northern districts of Vavuniya and Polonnaruwa and in the northwestern district of Mannar had killed 10 Tamil Tiger rebels.

 

They were the latest in a series of confrontations along a "border" separating government territory from the rebels' de facto state in the north. The military said one soldier was killed and five injured in the fighting.

 

The Sri Lankan government scrapped the 2002 truce officially on January 16, deepening fears of an escalation in the fighting.

 

The military said more than 40 civilians, 47 soldiers and over 625 rebels have been killed in fighting since then. About 70,000 people have been killed since the war erupted in 1983. (Reuters)

 

 

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