The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 235


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Multiple attacks in Mumbai, 80 dead, hostages taken
Reuters, Nov 27. MUMBAI (Reuters) - At least 80 people were killed in attacks apparently aimed at tourists in India's financial capital Mumbai on Wednesday night and television channels said Westerners were being held hostage at two five-star hotels.

At least 250 people were wounded, police said. Indian television channels reported the chief of Mumbai's police anti-terrorist squad, Hemant Karkare, was among those killed.

Attackers targeted the Cafe Leopold, perhaps the most famous restaurant and hang-out for tourists in Mumbai, as well as hospitals and railway stations.

"I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports," said Rakesh Patel, a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj hotel on business. "They had bombs." More...Discuss this story
Published: Wed Nov 26 15:43:20 EST 2008

Sri Lanka army: Rebels fleeing northern stronghold
Associated Press, Wed November 26, 2008 03:10 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Rebel forces were retreating Wednesday from the town of Kilinochchi and the government expected to capture the Tamil Tiger's administrative capital imminently, a senior official said.

The fall of Kilinochchi would be devastating to the separatist group, which once controlled a large de facto state in northern Sri Lanka - but has been forced into a rapid retreat in the face of a massive military offensive.

Though the town has little military importance and the rebels would almost certainly fight on without it it is seen as one of the most significant symbols of the rebels' decades-long fight to create an independent state in the north and east of this Indian Ocean island nation.

The rebels used Kilinochchi as the center of their political, police and judicial branches as they assembled the trappings of a state following a 2002 cease-fire. The town played host to numerous meetings between guerrilla leaders and visiting foreign diplomats.

However, the 2002 truce effectively collapsed in new fighting three years ago and the government officially pull out of the pact in January.

Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Wednesday that government troops were on ``the outskirts'' of Kilinochchi after days of fierce fighting and the rebels' appeared to have abandoned their defenses.

``They are in retreat, they are moving out,'' said Rambukwella, who is also a government minister. ``Their presence is not felt.''

When asked whether the town was expected to fall imminently, he said, ``Yes.''

Other security officials said President Mahinda Rajapaksa would likely make any announcement over the capture of the town.

It was not possible to contact the rebels for comment because the government has severed most communication lines to the north and barred journalists from the war zone.

The military forced the rebels to abandon their strongholds in the east last July before launching an offensive against the Tamil Tigers' main power base in the jungles of the north.

Troops had steadily advanced northward in recent months but became bogged down in positions 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Kilinochchi for weeks as the arrival of seasonal monsoon rains flooded roads and fields and made troop movements far more difficult.

But the military said it would push forward despite the rains, and earlier this week the two sides pounded each other with artillery and mortar shells during three days of intense battles. The military said the fighting killed 122 rebels and 27 soldiers, though both sides have been accused of supplying false casualty figures.

The fight over Kilinochchi came as both sides waited for reclusive rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to make his annual address to the Tamil people Thursday evening. The speech marking Heroes' Day, which honors rebels slain in the fighting, is expected to be broadcast from a hidden transmitter in the jungles of the north.

In light of the fighting and a history of rebel attacks in honor of Heroes' Day, the already high security around Colombo was tightened in recent days, with police stopping cars and questioning occupants at a succession of checkpoints throughout the city.

The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalization at the hands of successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 700,000 people have been killed in the violence.

The government has vowed to crush the rebels and end the war by the end of the year.Discuss this story
Published: Wed Nov 26 04:31:27 EST 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka rebel HQ to fall soon  -

Grim outlook for LTTE on eve of Hero’s Day
The Hindu, 26 Nov 2008. COLOMBO: On the eve of the Hero’s Day address by LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran, the Sri Lankan military on Tuesday claimed to have reached a “significant stage in Wanni liberation operation” by capturing Olumadu in Mullathivu district.

Once considered an LTTE stronghold, Olumadu is located 4 km northeast of Mankulam, along the Mankulam-Mullathivu (A-34) Road in the north. A Defence Ministry statement said after three days of fighting, Task Force-3 soldiers were able to reach the Olumadu and take up “forward dominations”.

“Victorious Sri Lanka Army soldiers are in a mood to take any challenge” that comes in their way in the battlefield, it added. More...Discuss this story
Published: Wed Nov 26 07:10:57 EST 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Troops Advance Into Rebel-Held Territory, Army Says, 26 Nov 2008. Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan troops pushed further into rebel-held territory, fighting through monsoon rains to capture a village on a key northern highway, the Defense Ministry said.

Soldiers gained control late yesterday of Olumadu, southeast of the coastal town of Mullaitivu that is controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says advancing on Tamil Tiger bases, 26 Nov 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka said on Wednesday its troops are poised to capture the Tamil Tigers' political headquarters and are advancing on the rebels' main military base... Back to the top

Rights group urges Sri Lanka to curb abuses
Associated Press, Tue November 25, 2008 13:11 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) An international rights group said Tuesday that it recorded 30 cases of extrajudicial killings across eastern Sri Lanka - in the past two months and urged the authorities to curb such abuses... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger chief to issue rallying call as fiefdom crumbles, 25 Nov 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) — Security forces ambushed and killed scores of Tamil Tigers in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, the defence ministry said, adding its troops were poised to take the rebels' political capital... Back to the top

SCENARIOS - Where is Sri Lanka s war heading?, 25 Nov 2008. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's military on Tuesday said it was probing the edges of the headquarters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, Kilinochchi... Back to the top

Key S Lanka offensive continues, 25 Nov 2008. More territory has been captured from the Tamil Tigers, the army says, as it continues its attempt to take the rebels' stronghold of Kilinochchi... Back to the top

VIDEO: Fighting in Sri Lanka intensifies, 25 Nov 2008. Nov 24 - Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan troops fight fierce battles in the north of the country with both claiming they've inflicted heavy casualties on the other... Back to the top

Sri Lanka pushes for rebel town; 2 rebels killed
Associated Press, Tue November 25, 2008 08:37 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two Tamil rebels were killed in a military ambush Tuesday as fighting slackened after three days of intense battles that killed 122 rebels and 27 soldiers, the military said... Back to the top

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