Air force jets destroy 3 Tamil rebel gunboats after 29 combatants killed, military says
Sat April 19, 2008 14:04 EDT .
KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Air force jets bombed and destroyed three Tamil Tiger rebel gunboats Saturday off northern Sri Lanka - after a day of ground fighting killed 28 insurgents and a soldier, the military said.
Fighter jets struck the boats near the northern rebel stronghold, a military official said without giving further details. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing government rules, and did not say if there were any casualties.
A military statement said earlier that soldiers raided six rebel bunkers in northern Mannar district Friday, with 13 rebels and one soldier killed in the encounter.
The statement said scattered fighting left 15 more insurgents dead Friday in northeastern Welioya and northern Vavuniya regions.
Telephone calls to the rebels' office seeking comment were not answered.
Both sides often exaggerate the other's casualties and play down their own. Independent accounts of the clashes are not available because there is no media access to the area.
The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country's minority ethnic Tamils, who have faced discrimination under successive governments controlled by the majority Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The rebels' strong naval force has played a major role in their fight.Discuss this story
Published: Sat Apr 19 22:53:00 EDT 2008