Military: Fighting in Sri Lanka kills 25
Fri July 18, 2008 04:03 EDT .
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A wave of battles along the front lines of the civil war in northern Sri Lanka killed 20 ethnic Tamil rebels and five soldiers, the military said Friday.
Meanwhile, air force jets bombed a rebel storage facility Friday morning and attacked and destroyed three rebel boats, the military said.
The violence came amid a sharp increase in fighting in recent months, with the government vowing to crush the rebels and seize control of their de facto state in the north.
In the worst fighting Thursday, troops attacked rebel bunkers along the front lines in the Vavuniya area, killing 10 Tamil Tiger fighters, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. Fighting in the area also killed four soldiers, while a fifth soldier was missing in action, he said.
Fighting in Welioya killed nine rebels and one soldier, while another rebel was killed in Jaffna, he said. Nanayakkara had earlier reported 11 rebels were killed in Welioya, but later said that was an error.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment.
It was not possible to independently verify the military reports because journalists are banned from the conflict zone. Both sides often exaggerate the losses inflicted on their enemy and underreport their own.
The rebels have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have faced marginalization by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority.
(Military spokesman corrects number of rebels killed to 20)
Published: Fri Jul 18 17:31:54 EDT 2008