The Lanka Academic

 
DECEMBER 17, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 256

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Sri Lanka steps up air strikes after heavy ground battles
google.com, 17 december. COLOMBO (AFP) ó Sri Lanka stepped up air attacks in the north Wednesday, a day after troops and Tamil Tigers fought intense ground battles around the rebels' stronghold that left hundreds dead and wounded.

Military officials said the air force was called in to bomb suspected Tiger "strong points" around Kilinochchi.

Security forces carried out simultaneous ground attacks against Tamil Tiger defences around Kilinochchi and on the Jaffna peninsula on Tuesday, the defence ministry said.

In a rare statement announcing casualty figures, the ministry said 25 troops had been killed, with another 10 missing and 160 wounded, while an estimated 120 Tigers were killed and 250 wounded. More...
Published: Wed Dec 17 09:00:36 EST 2008

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Sri Lanka says 145 killed in northern fighting  - Associated Press
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Heavy fighting kills 145 in Sri Lanka: military  - google.com
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Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka kills 145-military  - reuters.com
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Scores killed in heavy fighting in northern Sri Lanka  - Associated Press
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Sri Lanka army says heavy battles kill 145  - reuters.com

Sri Lankan troops press into rebel strongholds
Associated Press, Wed December 17, 2008 01:19 EST . - - Colombo (dpa) Fighting between government troops and Tamil separatist rebels intensified in northern Sri Lanka - as troops pressed into rebel strongholds, military officials said Wednesday. y in majority-Sinhalese Sri Lanka - .

Government troops have captured parts of the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts during the past three months, but recent rains and rebel resistance has slowed down the army offensive.

The operations to recapture rebel-held areas in the Northern and Eastern provinces were launched in August 2006. The entire Eastern Province and parts of the Northern Province have since been retaken, the government said.

According to military estimates, more than 12,000 rebels and 2,500 soldiers have been killed in combat since August 2006, but there is no independent confirmation of those figures. dpa ad tl ls
Published: Wed Dec 17 20:03:00 EST 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
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Sri Lankan troops take more Tiger territory in new push: military+  - Associated Press

Sri Lanka , rebels locked in battle
Associated Press, Wed December 17, 2008 08:06 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets and attack helicopters pummeled rebel fortifications across the north Wednesday, the government said, a day after a series of raging battles killed scores of fighters.

The burst of violence came as Sri Lankan forces pushed ahead with their offensive against the Tamil Tigers' northern stronghold in the face of punishing seasonal rains and stiff rebel resistance.

In some of the worst fighting in recent weeks, government forces on Tuesday launched attacks on at least four rebel positions in Kilinochchi district and along the front lines on the Jaffna peninsula, the rebel-linked Web site TamilNet reported Wednesday, citing Tamil Tiger officials.

The rebels said they forced the troops to retreat after a day of bloody battles, killing 170 soldiers and wounding more than 400 others. Rebel forces recovered the bodies of 36 soldiers, TamilNet reported. The Tamil Tigers did not give details of their own casualties.

The rebels could not be directly contacted because communication lines to their territory have been severed during the fighting.

The government said Tuesday that 120 rebels and 25 soldiers were killed in the battles, and 10 other soldiers were missing. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said Wednesday that the number of soldiers killed could rise by five or 10 ``but not more than that.''

Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy casualties while underreporting their own. Journalists and independent observers are barred from the war zone, making it impossible to verify battlefield reports released by either side.

In the aftermath of the fighting, the air force sent fighter jets and helicopters on repeated bombing missions across the north Wednesday morning, hitting bunkers and other rebel positions, the military said in a statement.

TamilNet said the raids hit camps holding some of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced in the fighting, killing a 5-month-old infant and a man and wounding 13 others.

Nanayakkara denied the accusation, saying the air force only engaged rebel targets.

``This area is completely abandoned by civilians,'' he said.

The government has vowed to crush the separatists and has won a string of victories in recent months. It has seized large chunks of rebel-held territory, forcing the insurgents into a dwindling stronghold in the northeast corner of this Indian Ocean island nation.

However, the rebels have offered stiff resistance for nearly two months at the edge of Kilinochchi, the administrative capital of their de facto state, despite repeated government predictions of the town's ``imminent fall.''

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who have suffered marginalization by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Wed Dec 17 08:51:13 EST 2008 Back to the top


Australia intercepts boat of suspected refugees
Associated Press, Tue December 16, 2008 02:06 EST . - - The nationalities of the people were not yet known, Debus said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Economic Growth Slows to 6.3% on Exports
Bloomburg, 16 Dec 2008. By Cherian Thomas and Asantha Sirimanne

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankaís economic growth slowed last quarter as a global recession reduced demand for the nationís tea, rubber and textile exports.

Gross domestic product expanded 6.3 percent from a year earlier, compared with 7 percent in the three months ended June 30, the statistics department said in Colombo today... Back to the top


Sri Lanka Economic Growth Slows to 6.3% on Exports
bloomberg.com, 16 december. Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankaís economic growth slowed last quarter as a global recession reduced demand for the nationís tea, rubber and textile exports. Gross domestic product expanded 6.3 percent from a year earlier, compared with 7 percent in the three months ended June 30, the statistics department said in Colombo today... Back to the top

Minister accuses DIG of illegal acts
BBC Sinhala News, 16 Dec 2008. A senior government minister in Sri Lanka has appealed to the chief of police to take action against a senior police officer accused of being involved in illegal gem mining... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Tamil Tiger Rebels Accused Of Rights Abuses
rttnews.com, 16 december. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger Rebels Accused Of Rights Abuses 12/15/2008 5:49 PM ET (RTTNews) - A report released by the Human Rights Watch on Monday accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of carrying out human rights abuses in Sri Lanka by increasing their forced recruitment of youth and by forcing civilians to do labor work near the frontlines... Back to the top

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