Sri Lanka airstrike hits 2 Tamil rebel naval bases
Mon November 3, 2008 09:48 EST .
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter planes bombed and destroyed two Tamil Tiger rebel bases in the volatile north on Monday, in the second straight day of government airstrikes against the insurgents' de facto state, the military said.
In the latest attack, jets hit two bases belonging to the Sea Tigers, the guerrilla naval wing, deep in the rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara.
He said the airstrikes wrecked the bases, with one being engulfed in fire.
The strikes came two days after a fierce sea battle killed 17 rebels and destroyed six rebel boats off the northern Jaffna peninsula.
On Sunday, the air force bombed a rebel training camp and supply base, also in Mullaitivu.
Meanwhile, infantry clashes raged through Sunday along the northern front lines, the military said in a statement on Monday.
In one battle, soldiers attacked a gathering of rebels in Palleikulam village in Kilinochchi, it said.
Three more clashes were reported in Kilinochchi, while scattered battles continued in Jaffna and Mullaitivu districts in the north, the military said.
The statement did not provide casualty details in line with a new government policy, but said troops inflicted ``severe damage'' on the rebels.
In another incident Sunday, Tamil rebels fatally shot four civilians in the eastern Batticaloa district, a separate military statement said.
Rebel spokesmen could not be reached for comment because most communication lines to guerrilla territory have been severed.
It was not possible to get independent accounts of the clashes because most journalists are banned from the war zone.
Government troops have made dramatic progress in recent months, seizing rebel bases and chunks of land, but the rebels have offered stiff resistance as the soldiers close in on their administrative capital, Kilinochchi.
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.Discuss this story
Published: Mon Nov 3 12:25:26 EST 2008