Sri Lanka's war planes bomb Tamil rebels
Tue August 12, 2008 09:55 EDT .
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka's air force launched airstrikes on Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers in the embattled north Tuesday, while renewed fighting in the region killed 26 rebels and six government soldiers, the military said.
The air attack was part of the government's offensive to crush the Tamil Tigers and seize their de facto state in the north.
The government has stepped up fighting around the rebel-held territory in recent months in an effort to deliver on its promise to crush the group by the end of this year.
In the latest assault, air force fighter jets hit rebel bunkers in the Kilinochchi district in support of troops fighting in the area, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara.
He said details of casualties and damage were not available immediately.
Meanwhile, infantry clashes continued Monday along the front lines in the Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Welioya regions, said Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman.
In the worst clash, soldiers attacked rebels in Kilinochchi with artillery and small arms, triggering a battle that killed nine guerrillas and three soldiers, he said.
Scattered battles in nearby Vavuniya killed 10 rebels, while fighting in Welioya killed seven rebels and three soldiers, Nanayakkara said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not available for comment. Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own. Independent verification of the fighting is not possible because journalists are barred from the war zone.
The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.Discuss this story
Published: Tue Aug 12 10:49:02 EDT 2008