Fighter jets bomb rebel base; Fighting kills 24 in northern Sri Lanka , military says
Mon March 3, 2008 09:26 EST .
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka fighter jets bombed and destroyed a Tamil Tiger rebels' communication base while a series of infantry battles in the embattled northern region killed 22 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Monday.
The airstrike and battles were part of a heavy increase in fighting along the front lines of the Tamil Tiger rebels' de facto state as the government vowed to crush the separatist group.
Air Force fighter jets pounded a rebels' communication base with a transmitting tower in the rebel-held Mullaitivu district on Monday, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.
He said pilots confirmed that ``the target was accurately hit and destroyed.''
Meanwhile, infantry battles Sunday in the north killed 22 guerrillas and two soldiers, Nanayakkara said.
In one fierce clash in the Welioya area south of rebel-held territory, troops killed eight rebels while two soldiers died, Nanayakkara said. Four separate battles in the Vavuniya area killed another 14 rebel fighters, he said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said the military's death toll was inaccurate.
``That's their usual misinformation,'' he said.
There was no immediate comment from rebels on the air attack.
Each side routinely exaggerates its enemy's casualty figures while underreporting its own. It is impossible to independently verify the death tolls and other battlefield information provided by the warring sides because journalists are barred from the conflict zone.
The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority after decades of discrimination by governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.Discuss this story
Published: Mon Mar 3 12:02:15 EST 2008