The Lanka Academic

JUNE 15, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 70


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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka launches second day of strikes on Tigers
Reuters, June 16. KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka, June 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's air force dropped bombs near the Tamil Tiger rebel headquarters in Kilinochchi on Friday, opening a second day of strikes in retaliation for an attack on a civilian bus that killed 64.

The town was overflown once by a propeller-driven spotter plane just after dawn before jets flew in and dropped at least five bombs. Aid workers scurried into bunkers to take shelter.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) denied responsibility for a fragmentation mine ambush on Thursday that blasted a bus on a remote road near rebel territory, killing 64, the worst incident since a 2002 ceasefire.

But diplomats and analysts said the attack had all their hallmarks. Few have believed their recent denials of responsibility for similar attacks on the military. More... Discuss this story
Published: Thu Jun 15 22:17:22 EDT 2006

Related News Stories
S Lanka air force steps up raids  - BBC

Sri Lanka's President Says He'll Pursue Peace After Bus Attack, june 16. June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse said the country's peace process will continue, after an attack blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels killed 64 civilians on a bus in the worst incident since a cease-fire was declared in 2002.

The government will ``never let the peace process be disrupted,'' Rajapakse said after yesterday's attack, according to a statement on the government's Web site.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam denied carrying out the bombing in the northern district of Anuradhapura and blamed armed groups targeting Tamil civilians for the incident. The LTTE has accused Sri Lanka's army of supporting paramilitary groups, a charge the government denies. More... Discuss this story
Published: Thu Jun 15 21:34:18 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Explosion on Bus in Sri Lanka kills at least 63
Shimali Senanayake for NYT, June 15th, 2006,. NYT June 15 - A landmine ripped through a passenger bus Thursday morning in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least 63 people and wounding 71 others, in the most serious attack on civilians since the government and its ethnic rebel foes signed a ceasefire agreement four years ago.

Hours later, the government on Thursday responded with air strikes on rebel positions in the island's northeast, according to witnesses and officials with the guerrilla group. By late afternoon local time, the government released no details about the aerial bombings, except to say that the military had taken a "deterrent" measure. The government was swift to blame the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for the mine attack on the civilian bus, which the rebels, in turn, promptly denied, blaming the government.

The uncertainty now is whether Thursday's deadly sequence marks the beginning of full-scale war. Neither side has been willing to take responsibility for officially calling quits to the Feb. 2002 ceasefire accord.

The twin incidents come after a deadlock in scheduled talks between the warring parties. The government and rebel delegations spent a week in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in what was supposed to be a Norwegian brokered discussion limited to the role of European-led truce monitors. The Tamil Tigers pulled out even before talks began. They complained about the composition of the government delegation.

Today's violence comes after several months of sporadic violence between soldiers, Tamil Tiger guerrillas and a breakaway faction in the east, simply called the Karuna group. Over the last several months, fighting has emptied villages in the northeast. A bomb went off in a busy market in the eastern port town of Trincomalee. The rebels, better known here as the L.T.T.E., were accused for the attempted assassination of Sri Lanka's army chief last April inside the heavily fortified military headquarters here in the capital. That attack, carried out by a suicide bomber, was also followed by a series of air strikes on rebel posts near Sampur, on the northeastern coast.

Since April, 500 people have been killed in the conflict, mostly civilians, according to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. Thursday's killings represented by far the largest civilian death toll since the 2002 truce. That truce agreement, monitored by the unarmed European-led team, is today little more than a piece of paper.

According to the Tamil Tigers, the government on Thursday bombed rebel-held patches of Sampur, as well as Mullaitivu, both strategic coastal installations for the Tamil Tiger naval fleet.

"As a deterrent measure to prevent similar terrorist attacks, the security forces have taken some known LTTE targets," the Sri Lankan military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said Thursday afternoon, without elaborating.

Earlier, during rush-hour Thursday morning, two so-called Claymore mines, placed side by side, was detonated by remote control, blowing up an overcrowded state-owned bus en route to a market town in the historic Anuradhapura district, about 100 miles north of the capital Colombo, Mr. Samarasinghe said. Anuradhapura's border villages were favorite targets during the war, as it sits at the crossroads between government and rebel-held territories.

Local police in the area said at least 63 people were killed Thursday morning, including 15 children. Some of the bodies had to be extracted from the mangled wreckage, they said.

Dr. Lakshman Gamalath, the director of Anuradhapura General Hospital said 62 injured people, including at least five children, have been admitted. Another nine with serious head injuries were dispatched to Colombo General Hospital.

A government minister, calling it "a barbaric terrorist act," accused the Tamil Tigers of deliberately targeting the bus. "This was not a mistake. There are no forces plying on this road, so it can't be considered a mistake by the terrorists," Keheliya Rabukwella, the policy planning minister told reporters in Colombo.

On the website of its peace secretariat, the Tamil Tigers in turn accused the government of carrying out the bus attack, saying attacks on civilians "cannot be justified under any circumstances."

In a major political and potentially financial blow, the European Union placed the Tamil Tigers on its list of banned terrorist organizations last month, following the course of the United States, Britain and India. The Tamil diaspora in Europe is an important source of fundraising for the Tamil Tigers.

Shimali Senanayake reported from Colombo for this article and Somini Sengupta reported from New Delhi. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Jun 15 08:44:28 EDT 2006 Back to the top

US hits out at Tamil Tiger rebels
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, June 15, 2006, 10.50 p.m.. The United States today urged the LTTE to renounce terror and enter into direct negotiations with the Sri Lankan Government... Back to the top

Bombs fall near Sri Lanka rebel HQ: witness, June 15, 2006 - 14:30 EDT. KILINOCHCHI (Reuters) - Aircraft dropped bombs near the Tamil Tiger rebel headquarters of Kilinochchi on Thursday night, a Reuters witness said, in a new series of retaliatory strikes after a suspected rebel attack on a bus... Back to the top

Bombing Pushes Sri Lanka Closer to War
Associated Press, Thu June 15, 2006 13:57 EDT . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - KABITHIGOLLEWA, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil separatists attacked a crowded bus Thursday, triggering a pair of hidden bombs that killed at least 64 people the worst violence since a 2002 cease-fire began unraveling in recent months... Back to the top

India prepares for possible Sri Lanka war
UPI, June 15. NEW DELHI, June 15 (UPI) -- Ruling out the possibility of a military intervention, India has said it is studying a number of scenarios as Sri Lanka inches closer to war... Back to the top

Claymore mines: Ingenious and deadly
BBC, June 15. Claymore mines - like the one thought to have been used to blow up a bus in Sri Lanka - are deadly explosive devices widely used around the world... Back to the top

Sri Lankan bus bombing leads to retaliatory airstrikes as island skids toward war
Associated Press, Thu June 15, 2006 11:48 EDT . ERANGA JAYAWARDENA - Associated Press Writer - KABITHIGOLLEWA, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tiger rebels attacked a crowded bus Thursday in northern Sri Lanka - , triggering a pair of hidden explosives that killed at least 64 people in the worst violence since a 2002 cease-fire, officials said... Back to the top

Timeline of the recent upsurge in violence in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu June 15, 2006 14:04 EDT . The Associated Press Major developments in Sri Lanka - 's conflict... Back to the top

Sri Lankan air force bombs rebel-held areas after explosion kills 62
Associated Press, Thu June 15, 2006 04:06 EDT . DILIP GANGULY Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A powerful land mine ripped through a packed bus in northern Sri Lanka on Thursday, killing at least 64 people in the worst act of violence since a 2002 cease-fire, the army said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka bus blast kills dozens
BBC, June 15. At least 61 people have been killed after a civilian bus was struck by a mine in northern Sri Lanka, police say... Back to the top

Panicky Tamils scan skies for air raids in Sri Lanka, 15 june. KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Listening to a radio broadcast of the deadliest suspected Tamil rebel attack on Sri Lankan civilians since a 2002 ceasefire, visibly-shaken housewife Pathmavathy Kandasamy scoured the skies in panic... Back to the top

Ranil asks Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to bring peace to Sri Lanka
IANS/Telugu Portal, June 15. Bangalore, June 15 (IANS) Former Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Thursday flew in here and urged spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to help bring peace to his island nation... Back to the top

Sri Lanka responds to Norway's concerns
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, June 14th, 2006, 8:00 pm. The government on Wednesday sent a curt reply to Norwegian peace brokers reaffirming its commitment to the peace process but raising objection to theTamil Tigers being similarly asked to grant diplomatic immunity for European truce monitors, senior officials said... Back to the top

Bomb found, defused on bus in Colombo; 6 killed in rebel-held north
Associated Press, Wed June 14, 2006 08:57 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The army defused a bomb found in a bus in the Sri Lankan capital on Wednesday, as violence in the country's volatile north left at least six people dead and two army officers missing, the police and military said... Back to the top

Colombo sees Norway plea to LTTE as ‘undiplomatic’, 13 June, 2006. COLOMBO: The government has expressed surprise and regret over the Norwegian communication that urged the LTTE to guarantee diplomatic immunity to the truce monitors when it could only be done by a legitimate government of a sovereign state... Back to the top

Pro-LTTE website attacks Karunanidhi, 15 jun. NEW DELHI: A website that supports Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas has come out with a stinging attack on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi over his government's alleged support to the breakaway faction of Karuna... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers clash with Sri Lankan soldiers, 3 killed
Associated Press, Wed June 14, 2006 03:19 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels attacked government soldiers who were planting land mines in rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka - , sparking a gunbattle that killed two guerrillas and a soldier, the rebels and a truce monitor said Wednesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka violence continues as Tigers return home, 14 june. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas killed a Home Guard trooper on Wednesday, police said, in another sign of escalating violence following failed talks between the government and the rebels in Norway... Back to the top

India should take initiative to help Sri Lankan Tamils: PMK, June 13. Chennai, June 13. (PTI): PMK, a constituent of the ruling UPA at the Centre, on Monday said that India should take an initiative to help Sri Lankan Tamils, who are facing human rights abuses... Back to the top

UN says 3,000 flee Sri Lanka war, 14 June 2006. Almost 3,000 people have fled Sri Lanka for India since the start of this year, the United Nations refugee agency says... Back to the top

India deeply worried over Sri Lanka, June 14, 2006. With Sri Lanka sliding towards war, India is studying various scenarios even as it has its fingers tightly crossed... Back to the top

Tamil poet's plea for peace
BBC, June 14. "I am really sad and disappointed," says Tamil poet VIS Jayapalan... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers return to Sri Lanka after aborted Oslo talks, June 14. The Tamil Tiger delegation which had gone to the Norwegian capital of Oslo returned to Sri Lanka Wednesday morning after aborted talks with the government, airport officials said... Back to the top

Tigers accuse Sri Lanka of mine attacks, one soldier killed, June 14. Colombo, June 14. (PTI): Tamil Tiger rebels today said they killed a soldier, when the troops were allegedly laying mines in a rebel-held area of Sri Lanka's north... Back to the top

Indonesian-owned fishing boat catches fire off Sri Lanka , police say
Associated Press, Wed June 14, 2006 08:07 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ An Indonesian-owned fishing vessel caught fire in the sea off Sri Lanka's main harbor Wednesday, police and a harbor official said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka unhappy over Norway s attitude towards Tigers, 2006-06-14 19:55:26 . COLOMBO, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lanka government said Wednesday that it has noted with concern an alleged attempt by the Norwegian peace facilitators to confer equal status to the Tiger rebels as that of the government in facilitating peace in the island... Back to the top

Two trains collide in Sri Lanka , 42 injured
Associated Press, Tue June 13, 2006 20:45 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two trains collided in southern Sri Lanka - , leaving at least 42 passengers injured, police and hospital officials said... Back to the top

Nurse's blends tout medicinal benefits of tea
Associated Press, Tue June 13, 2006 16:06 EDT . MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS - - ``It's the real article,'' said Macke, whose tea leaves come from certified organic and fair trade farms in Sri Lanka - , India, Nepal, Taiwan and China... Back to the top

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