Sri Lanka : planes bomb rebels leader's hideout
Fri October 31, 2008 08:10 EDT .
KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed the hide-out of the chief of the Tamil Tiger's sea wing on Friday, but his fate was not known, the military said.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said it is still not clear if the rebel leader, known only as Soosai, was in his Jeyanthinagar village hiding place near rebel headquarters in Kilinochchi.
Rebel officials could not be contacted for comment because communication lines to their territory have been cut.
The air force last year killed S.P. Tamilselvan, the then-political wing head and the public face of the rebels. Since then, officials have claimed to have carried out several raids targeting rebel leaders, including the top guerrilla Velupillai Prabhakaran, but they appear to have survived.
Friday's airstrike came a day after the military claimed to have captured Nachchikuda, a strategic village on the northeastern coast, where the rebels have a base that is used for smuggling weapons.
The Tamil Tigers' sea wing, known as the Sea Tigers, has played a key role in their decades-old separatist war, ferrying supplies for the group and ramming explosive-laden boats against military vessels at sea.
The military has in recent months intensified its offensive against the guerrillas' de facto state in the north. Officials have pledged to crush the rebels and their 25-year separatist war by the end of the year.
The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have suffered marginalization at the hands of successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Fri Oct 31 10:41:18 EDT 2008