Sri Lanka 's military says fighter jets bomb rebel positions; 15 killed in ground fighting
Thu June 12, 2008 11:25 EDT .
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel explosives warehouse and an ammunition factory Thursday, a day after infantry clashes in the country's embattled north killed 13 rebels and two soldiers, the military said.
Fighter jets targeted the two locations in rebel-held northern Mullaitivu district, the military said in a statement. It did not give details of casualties or damage caused by the attacks.
On Wednesday, troops destroyed two rebel bunkers in Mannar district in a clash that killed four guerrillas, a Defense Ministry statement said.
Other battles in nearby Vavuniya and Welioya districts left nine rebels and two soldiers dead, it said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment.
It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because journalists are banned from the northern jungles where much of the fighting takes place.
Wednesday's infantry clashes came hours after rebels launched a pre-dawn attack on a navy outpost off the coast of Mannar, sparking a battle that killed five Tamil Tigers and three sailors, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.
Rebel spokesman Ilanthirayan disputed that account, saying the raid killed 10 government troops and four rebels.
The two sides routinely release contradictory statements about battles and battle losses.
Fighting has escalated in recent months along the war's front lines, with the government pledging to capture rebel-held territory and crush the insurgents by the end of the year.
The Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent state for the island's ethnic minority Tamils, who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by majority Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Jun 12 14:24:19 EDT 2008