Sri Lanka : Air force fighter jets bomb rebel base
Fri August 29, 2008 06:33 EDT .
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel base in the embattled north Friday, and ground battles across the region killed 34 rebels and one government soldier, the military said.
The fighter jets pounded a training base for Sea Tigers, the naval wing of the separatist Tamil Tigers, deep in the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara.
He did not provide details of casualties and damages, but said the pilots had confirmed they had hit the target.
Infantry clashes continued Thursday along the front lines separating government-controlled territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.
The worst fighting occurred in the Vavuniya district, where soldiers killed 14 rebels before capturing the rebel-held Palamoddai village, he said. Ten rebels and five soldiers were wounded.
Scattered clashes in Kilinochchi killed 12 rebels and one soldier, while seven rebels died in Welioya and another was killed in Jaffna, he said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment.
Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own. Independent verification of the fighting is not possible because most journalists are barred from the war zone.
Also Friday, a grenade exploded inside a prison in the volatile east, injuring seven prisoners, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said. He declined to give further details, saying an investigation was continuing.
Fighting has escalated in recent months on the Indian Ocean island, with the military capturing a series of rebel bases and large chunks of territory. Officials have reiterated a pledge to crush the guerrillas by the end of the year.
The rebels have fought 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.
Published: Fri Aug 29 07:12:12 EDT 2008