The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 263


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Fresh Fighting Erupts in Northern Sri Lanka, 24 decmber. Sri Lanka's military said it has killed at least 20 Tamil rebels during heavy fighting in the country's north, as part of an ongoing assault on key rebel territory. A military statement said troops captured the village of Sinna Paranthan, northwest of the rebels' de facto capital of Kilinochchi, on Tuesday. The statement said its fighter jets launched several air strikes against rebel positions again Wednesday in the northern Paranthan and Muahamalai areas. More...
Published: Wed Dec 24 17:00:19 EST 2008

Sri Lankan fighter jets pound rebels
Associated Press, Wed December 24, 2008 04:22 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets bombed rebel positions along the front lines in the north Wednesday as ground forces captured a hidden runway used by the Tamil Tiger air wing, the military said.

Fighting between the two sides has escalated in recent months as the government pressed ahead with an offensive aimed at forcing the Tamil Tiger rebels out of their de facto state in the north.

With fighting raging on the ground, the air force carried out several strikes against rebel positions Wednesday, including two near Paranthan junction, the military said. Pilots planned more sorties throughout the day, air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.

The rebel-affiliated Web site TamilNet said the airstrikes hit a convent near Paranthan junction that was marked with a large red cross on its roof. The airstrikes killed 85 cows near the convent and sent civilians living in the area fleeing, the Web site reported.

Meanwhile, ground troops captured a runway Tuesday that was used by the so-called Air Tigers, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. It was the third runway captured in recent fighting, he said.

The rebels have at least two more runways, he said.

The rebel air wing has used small planes to carry out bombing runs on Sri Lankan cities, including Colombo, deeply embarrassing the military, which has been unable to stop the attacks.

With most communication to the north severed in the fighting, rebel spokesmen could not be contacted for comment.

The military has also captured about 4 miles (7 kilometers) of a 10-mile-long (17-kilometer-long) berm and moat fortification the rebels had built around their administrative capital of Kilinochchi, Brig. Nanayakkara said.

Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said last month that Kilinochchi was expected to fall to government forces ``imminently,'' although troops have made little headway in taking the town.

On Wednesday, Rambukwella said he would not give any time frame for the capture of the town.

``We are on course, we are on a schedule, but in this type of situation, unexpected things pop up,'' he said.

The military was also trying to be cautious to protect civilians in the area, he said.

``Otherwise, we would have bulldozed the thing in no time,'' he said.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have suffered decades of marginalization at the hands of governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Wed Dec 24 05:49:17 EST 2008 Back to the top

Lankan army captures strategic point near Kilinochchi; 15 LTTE cadres killed
Zee News, 23 Dec 2008. Colombo, Dec 23: At least 15 LTTE cadres were killed as troops captured a strategic area near the rebel headquarters of Kilinochchi in the embattled Northern Sri Lanka, officials said on Tuesday.

Troops engaged in counter-offensives west of Paranthan, consolidated 300 m further southwards along the LTTE-built earth-bund-cum-ditch, capturing a LTTE strong-point, 'Sinna-Paranthan', this morning, the defence ministry said.

According to reports, troops faced stiff resistance from LTTE in the battle for Sinna-Paranthan, which is located six km west of Paranthan Township.

Intercepted rebel communication has confirmed 12 LTTE deaths while many others were also said injured during the clashes, the army quoted security sources as saying.

Meanwhile, troops are continuing clearing operations in the area. More...
Published: Tue Dec 23 08:05:23 EST 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan troops find third LTTE air strip in Mullaitivu, 24 december. Colombo (PTI): Sri Lankan fighters on Wednesday carried out heavy bombings of rebel position near their strongholds of Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu as their advancing forces captured a hidden air strip used by the Air Wing of the LTTE, officials said... Back to the top

Furor grows in Sri Lanka over move to publish child-porn photos+
Associated Press, Wed December 24, 2008 01:42 EST . COLOMBO, Dec. 24 (Kyodo) An attempt by the Sri Lanka police to publish photographs of girls, some of them minors, appearing in seized pornographic films has drawn angry protests with a newspaper saying Wednesday the girls will be ''branded for life.'' The head of Sri Lanka's National Child Protection Authority, Sarath Amunugama, was quoted in the news report as saying there should be further discussion with various state authorities dealing with women and children before a final course of action is decided. ''We don't usually publish photos or names of those less than 18 years because it could lead to physical and mental stress on victims or suspects,'' he said... Back to the top

PCB to meet Sri Lankan officials to save tour
Associated Press, Wed December 24, 2008 08:57 EST . RIZWAN ALI - AP Sports Writer - ``We desperately need to organize some test cricket at home and we are keen to host Sri Lanka - despite the fact that we are not going to make much money,'' Altaf said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's interim board dissolved, Ranatunga sacked
CricInfo, December 23, 2008. Sri Lanka's sports minister Gamini Lokuge has dissolved the interim administration of Sri Lanka Cricket, headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, saying the situation at SLC demanded an immediate change... Back to the top

ICRC employee shot and killed in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Tue December 23, 2008 11:55 EST . - - GENEVA (AP) The international Red Cross says one of its employees has been killed in Sri Lanka - ... Back to the top

Rights group asks Sri Lanka to stop detaining war refugees
Reuters, 23 Dec 2008. By Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government should ensure freedom of movement for civilians fleeing the heavy fighting in the far north and allow the return of aid agencies, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday... Back to the top

S.Lanka s Tigers say no surrender despite setbacks, Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:34pm IST. By Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers on Tuesday vowed to fight on even if they lose more territory inside the area they want to establish as a separate nation for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority... Back to the top

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