Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sri Lanka bombs rebels

COLOMBO (Sri Lanka) - SRI Lankan air force helicopters on Sunday bombed Tamil Tiger rebels who were trying to block troops from capturing their de facto capital, the government said.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the helicopters attacked rebel positions in Murikandy village, south of the rebel headquarters, Kilinochchi. It did not give casualty details.

Meanwhile, the military said it recovered the bodies of four rebels believed to have been killed in fighting Saturday in Otiyamalai village in the northeastern Mullaitivu district. Soldiers took control of the village after the clash.

Rebel officials could not be reached for comment. It is difficult to verify battlefield reports because most journalists are barred from the war zone.

The government has vowed to crush the rebels to end their separatist war. It says its forces are closing in on Kilinochchi, while other troops are advancing toward the rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu on the northeastern coast.

Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country's 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. -- AP

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