Sri Lanka 's military says air force bombs rebel center; 12 guerrillas die in other battles
Sun May 18, 2008 05:01 EDT .
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan air force helicopters bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel operations center in the contested north, while separate ground battles killed 12 insurgents, the military said Sunday.
Air force pilots bombed the rebel center in northern Mannar district on Saturday, the military said in a statement. It did not give details of any casualties or damage caused in the attack.
Twelve Tamil guerrillas were killed in separate fighting Saturday across the island's embattled north, the statement said. The fighting was in the Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya regions, it added.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment.
The government and rebels often release conflicting reports on the fighting, exaggerating enemy casualties and lowering their own losses.
Independent confirmation of the claims is impossible because reporters are not allowed in the war zone.
Also Saturday, the military said it captured Palampiddi town from Tamil Tiger rebels in Mannar district. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said capturing Palampiddi was strategically important because it would block the rebels' supply route between the northern Vavuniya and Mannar districts.
The government has vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year and dismantle their de facto administration.
Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who have faced marginalization by governments controlled by ethnic majority Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Sun May 18 08:45:25 EDT 2008