The Lanka Academic

 
AUGUST 30, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 147

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Blast rocks Sri Lanka 's capital, wounding 45
Associated Press, Sat August 30, 2008 07:00 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A bomb blast blamed on separatist Tamil Tigers wounded 45 people in Sri Lanka - 's capital Saturday, while renewed fighting in the embattled north killed 18 rebels and three soldiers, the military said. Fighting in Sri Lanka - 's civil war has escalated in recent months, 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 Tamil Tiger rebels have fought for an independent state in the north and east of the Indian ocean island 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.

Hospital spokesman Dr. Anil Jasinghe said 45 people were receiving treatment for injuries received in the blast.

``Most of them have suffered minor injuries,'' he said, adding that no deaths were reported.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls from The Associated Press for comment, but the Tamil Tigers routinely deny responsibility for such attacks.

If carried out by the rebels, the attack would show their ability to strike deep inside government territory despite a maze of security checkpoints around the capital and its suburbs.

Saturday's bombing was the first in the capital since May 16, when a suicide bomb attack blamed on rebels killed 12 people, including eight policemen, and wounded 85 others. On June 6, another bomb hit a crowded passenger bus just outside the capital, killing 21 people.

The rebels, blamed for scores of suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians, are listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union and India.

Meanwhile, fighting continued Friday along the front lines that separate government-held territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

In the worst battle, soldiers killed eight rebels in two separate clashes in the Kilinochchi district. Two soldiers also were killed, it said.

Other fighting in Vavuniya, Welioya and Jaffna killed 10 guerrillas and one soldier, while eight soldiers were wounded, the statement said.

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.

Amid escalating violence, the government is urging civilians living in rebel-held areas to flee to government-controlled territory, saying it would ensure their safety. Government helicopters dropped leaflets Thursday in rebel-held areas urging villagers to leave.
Published: Sat Aug 30 09:24:45 EDT 2008


Sri Lankan Forces Seize `Strategic Rebel Bases, Ministry Says
bloomberg.com, , Aug 29 . Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan forces captured two ``strategic'' Tamil Tiger bases in the north as they continued to push toward the rebel headquarters in Kilinochchi, the Defense Ministry said.

Troops took the town of Palamoddai and the Ulathuvely beach area yesterday after ``heavy fighting'' with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighters, the ministry said in a statement. The LTTE didn't immediately comment on the clashes.

The Tamil Tigers mobilized all available forces ``to protect this strategically vital area,'' the ministry said. With the fall of Palamoddai the LTTE ``have to make more efforts to defend their territory'' in the north as ``fast-moving'' soldiers advance on Kilinochchi,'' it said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government pledged to defeat the LTTE in the northern Wanni region this year and end the 25- year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people. The Tamil Tigers mounted an air raid on the headquarters of the navy in the eastern port of Trincomalee three days ago as it fights off almost daily attacks on its last bases in the north. More...Discuss this story
Published: Fri Aug 29 00:46:51 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Sri Lanka : Air force fighter jets bomb rebel base
Associated Press, 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 Back to the top


2 soldiers, 26 Tamil rebels killed in Sri Lanka military offensive
Associated Press, Fri August 29, 2008 05:43 EDT . Colombo (dpa)- Government troops recaptured two rebel-controlled areas and killed at least 26 rebels during a military offensive in northern Sri Lanka - , a military spokesman said Friday... Back to the top

Defense chief promises safe passage for Sri Lankan refugees+
Associated Press, Fri August 29, 2008 02:56 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Aug. 29 (Kyodo) Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in remarks published Friday, urged tens of thousands of Sri Lankans caught between rebel and government forces in the country's north to flee to government-controlled areas. He added the government is setting up ''escape routes'' and that government forces are air-dropping leaflets outlining the routes into the Wanni district now held by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : 34 rebels, 1 soldier killed fighting
Associated Press, Fri August 29, 2008 01:38 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A wave of fighting across Sri Lanka - 's embattled northern region killed 34 Tamil Tiger rebels and one government soldier, the military said Friday... Back to the top

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