The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 261


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Battle for Sri Lanka rebel HQ rages, at least 66 die, Mon Dec 22, 2008. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Heavy fighting erupted on Monday as soldiers seized defences around the separatist Tamil Tigers' self-proclaimed capital, killing at least 66 combatants, the military said.

And as battles around the town of Kilinochchi intensified for a second week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to free civilians trapped in the war zone by year's end or else face listing as a terrorist group.

The military has been moving on Kilinochchi since September, but the past two weeks' assault on the rebels' heavy earthen defences or bunds encircling the town's outskirts has seen both sides claiming increasingly higher death tolls.

"The army's 57th Division and Task Force 1 today captured 2 Km (1 mile) in the bund and fighting in the area killed 56 LTTE terrorists and wounded 86," a spokesman at the Media Centre for National Security said on customary condition of anonymity. Ten soldiers were killed and 40 were injured, he said.

The LTTE had no immediate comment.

It is nearly impossible to verify battlefield claims since both sides block independent media access to the war zone, and have repeatedly distorted figures to their advantage in the past.

On Monday, Rajapaksa threatened to formally ban the LTTE as a terrorist group, a week after Human Rights Watch said the Tigers were using thousands of Tamil civilians as human shields and forcing them into combat duty or battlefield labour.

"Release all innocent Tamils held in bondage and hostage by you as human shields by the dawn of 2009. If you fail to do so, you will face proscription and all other consequences," the president's office quoted Rajapaksa as saying More...
Published: Mon Dec 22 10:40:26 EST 2008

Sri Lanka demands rebels allow civilians to leave war zones
Associated Press, Mon December 22, 2008 07:10 EST . - - Colombo (dpa) Sri Lanka - President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday demanded that Tamil rebels release civilians ``held hostage'' in the country's war zones.

He alleged that civilians have been prevented from leaving rebel-held areas in the northern part of the country.

Some 300,000 civilians are living in rebel-controlled areas, where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has kept people from leaving the zones, fearing a mass exodus would expose the rebels to major military offensives, officials claim.

Government troops in August 2006 launched an operation to liberate civilians in rebel-held areas in the north and east. The eastern province was retaken last year and parts of the north have come under government control.

Rebels are now confined to parts of two northern districts, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, 300 kilometres north of the capital.

Troops have stepped up ground, air and sea attacks on the rebels, but the presence of civilians has made operations difficult.

Tamil rebels claim that civilians have been killed in airstrikes.

The government has made a public appeal for minority Tamil civilians to leave the conflict zones and move to government-run shelter, but so far less than 1,000 have responded.

Some have taken the risk of defying the rebels and leaving while several others have taken risky journeys to reach army forward defence lines. dpa ad tl
Published: Mon Dec 22 07:40:56 EST 2008 Back to the top

Tamil Tigers vow to keep fighting, dec 22. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have said they will continue to fight even if they lose their political headquarters town of Kilinochchi.

There has been fierce fighting as the army tries to capture Kilinochchi.

The head of the rebels' political wing told the BBC he rejected the government's offer of talks if the Tigers disarmed first.

The Tigers say they killed 75 soldiers in the latest clashes. The army has put its losses at 12 dead and 12 missing.

The rival claims cannot be independently verified because journalists are barred from the conflict area. More...Discuss this story
Published: Mon Dec 22 02:06:55 EST 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan fighter jets destroy 5 rebel boats
Associated Press, Mon December 22, 2008 08:41 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets destroyed five rebel boats in two raids and pounded other guerrilla targets Monday in support of a ground offensive aimed at crushing the Tamil Tigers, the military said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says 67 killed in northern fighting
Associated Press, Mon December 22, 2008 09:09 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's military says 67 fighters are dead after a fierce clash that took place close to a northern Tamil Tiger rebel stronghold... Back to the top

Five LTTE militants sent to Poonamalee special camp
ChennaiOnline, 22 Dec 2008. Rameswaram, Dec 22: Five LTTE militants, who came here from Jaffna under the guise of Sri Lankan refugees last month, have been sent to the Poonamallee special camp after questioning by the Q branch of Tamil Nadu police revealed their real identities, a police officer said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers, Make Conflicting Battle Claims
com, dec 21. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels say they have killed at least 60 government troops advancing toward the rebel's de facto capital, Kilinochchi... Back to the top

Sri Lanka President says rebels facing ban, 2008-12-22 16:21:36. COLOMBO, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse here Monday warned the Tamil Tiger rebels that they would face a proscription unless they released all civilians who are kept against their will. Rajapakse warned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels that they ought to allow freedom of movement to all Tamil civilians... Back to the top

Sri Lankan jets hit rebels
Associated Press, Mon December 22, 2008 03:34 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets attacked a rebel boat off the coast and pounded other rebel targets Monday in support of a ground offensive aimed at crushing the Tamil Tigers, the military said... Back to the top

Report: 60 Sri Lankan soldiers killed in fighting
Associated Press, Sun December 21, 2008 01:49 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels killed 60 Sri Lankan troops advancing toward their de facto capital, a pro-rebel report said, but the government denied Sunday that many soldiers had died... Back to the top

Advani urged to bring about truce in Sri Lanka, dec 22. New Delhi (IANS): Indian Opposition Leader L.K. Advani was on Sunday urged to bring about a truce in Sri Lanka by a Tamil MP from the island nation... Back to the top

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