The Lanka Academic

APRIL 24, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 19


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Sri Lankan rebels say 15 soldiers killed in latest fighting in the north
Associated Press, Thu April 24, 2008 09:45 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A Sri Lankan rebel spokesman says 15 government soldiers have been killed in a latest round of fighting in the island's restive north.

The fighting broke out at dawn Thursday in northern Mannar district when soldiers backed by artillery fire, moved into the rebel defense line, rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said.

He said the soldiers were forced to retreat after several hours of fighting.

But military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara denied there were any clashes in Mannar.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Apr 24 10:19:08 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka to press on fight with rebels
Associated Press, Thu April 24, 2008 17:23 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's government said Thursday it will push ahead with efforts to destroy the Tamil Tiger rebel movement this year despite a ferocious battle a day earlier that left at least 76 soldiers dead or missing.

Even as the government expressed confidence in its fight, the rebels said they killed 20 more soldiers Thursday in new fighting in another area of the war zone.

``The liberation operation will continue,'' Cabinet Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said, reaffirming a government campaign to crush the rebels and ``end terrorism by the end of the year.''

Wednesday's battle was a setback in the government's offensive against the Tamil Tigers and their de facto state in the north of this South Asian island nation. The 43 soldiers killed and 33 missing was the military's heaviest loss since an October 2006 battle on the same stretch of land killed 129 government troops.

Air force jets staged strikes Thursday on a base where the insurgents' suicide attackers are trained, the military said. Troops also killed four rebels in the Welioya area, the military spokesman, Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said in an e-mailed statement that the insurgents killed 20 soldiers early in the day in northern Mannar district. The military denied there was any fighting in Mannar.

In discussing Wednesday's bloody battle, the military said fighting broke out just before dawn when rebel forces overran government positions in the rugged Muhamalai region. Thousands of government soldiers fought back and seized 500 yards of rebel territory, the military said.

The military said 100 guerrillas were killed. The rebels said they lost only 16 fighters and claimed more than 100 government soldiers died.

Independent accounts of the fighting are unavailable because journalists are barred from the war zone. Reporters also were not allowed to meet with wounded soldiers taken to hospitals.

A former army commander, retired Gen. Jerry de Silva, said the military might be overstretched in trying to wage war in the north while defending the south from suicide bombings blamed on the rebels.

Fighting between the two sides has escalated since the government pulled out of a long-ignored cease-fire with the rebels in January.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic Tamils, who have been marginalized for decades by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Thu Apr 24 19:07:10 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Air Force pounds rebel target
People's Daily Online, April 24, 2008. The military in Sri Lanka said on Thursday that its Air Force launched an attack against Tamil Tiger rebel's target in the north.

Officials from Ministry of Defense said that the Air Force fighter jets made precision air sorties at an LTTE's (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) "Black Tiger" (suicide bombers) training facility at Pannikkankulama in Mullaittiuvu district at around 06:20 a.m. local time (0050 GMT).

The air strike followed a fierce confrontation between the two side on Wednesday killing 43 soldiers and 81 rebels at Muhamalai in the Jaffna peninsula.

Another 33 soldiers were missing, more than 120 others were injured while 196 rebel were also injured in the battle, the military said early.

Pro-rebel sources said at least 150 government soldiers were killed and more than 400 were wounded in action.

Sources close to the government disclosed that more than 200 fighters might have been killed on each side during the fierce battle.

The troops claimed in July last year that the entire Eastern Province had been free of the rebels and began to engage the LTTE in the north.

Claiming discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese government, the LTTE has been fighting against the government since the mid-1980s to establish an independent homeland for the minority Tamils, resulting in the death of more than 70,000 people in the country.

Published: Thu Apr 24 20:47:35 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka strikes back with air attacks as losses mount
afp, April 24. COLOMBO (AFP) Sri Lanka carried out retaliatory air strikes against Tamil rebels Thursday, a day after intense artillery battles left hundreds killed or wounded, according to officials on both sides... Back to the top

Sri Lankan officials raid rice hoarders amid shortage
Associated Press, Thu April 24, 2008 13:16 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's government has sent police to seize hoarded rice as it looks to harvests in the island's strife-torn north to help ease a shortage of the island's staple food... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says fierce battle will not hinder efforts to destroy Tamil Tigers this year
Associated Press, Thu April 24, 2008 04:21 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's government said Thursday it will push ahead with its efforts to destroy the Tamil Tiger rebel group this year despite a devastating battle that left at least 76 soldiers dead or missing... Back to the top

Over 200 slain in Sri Lanka's bloodiest battle in 18 months
afp, April 24. COLOMBO (AFP) Tamil rebels killed at least 100 Sri Lankan soldiers in the nation's bloodiest battle in 18 months on Wednesday, the separatists said, as the military claimed more than 100 rebels died in the fighting... Back to the top

Sources: Tigers feint kills 100 Sri Lanka troops
CNN, April 24. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- More than 100 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and another 400 wounded Wednesday when troops attempted to advance toward a stronghold of the Tamil Tigers rebel organization, highly placed army sources told CNN... Back to the top

Sri Lanka counts losses in hundreds after major battle, April 24, 2008. OLOMBO (AFP) Sri Lanka's hopes of a quick victory over Tamil separatists looked shattered Thursday after Tamil rebels inflicted the heaviest losses on security forces since pulling out of a truce, analysts said... Back to the top

Military says 52 rebels, 38 soldiers killed in fierce battle in northern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Wed April 23, 2008 10:14 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil rebels and government troops waged a fierce battle in northern Sri Lanka - on Wednesday, killing 52 guerrillas and 38 soldiers in one of the deadliest clashes this year between the two sides, the military said... Back to the top

Let s be clear --Tamil Tigers are the terrorists in Sri Lanka, April, 24, 2008. Iread with both amusement and sadness the column by Manjula Selvarajah in yesterday's National Post ("Sri Lanka Has Failed to Protect All Of Its Citizens")... Back to the top

Fierce fighting kills 90 in N Sri Lanka, 2008-04-23 22:52:03 . COLOMBO, April 23 (Xinhua) -- At least 52 Tamil Tiger rebels and 38 government soldiers were killed in a major confrontation in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula Wednesday morning, officials said... Back to the top

Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka north kills 67, Wed Apr 23, 2008 . COLOMBO (Reuters) - Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's far north killed 52 Tamil Tiger rebels and 15 soldiers, the military said on Wednesday... Back to the top

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