Lankan forces keep on fighting Tigers: 29 die | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 21, 2008

Lankan forces keep on fighting Tigers: 29 die

Fighting between the government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels along the northern front lines killed 26 rebels and three government soldiers, the military said yesterday.
The newly reported fighting took place in Vavuniya, Mannar, Welioya and Jaffna regions bordering the rebels' de facto state in the north Thursday, said a defence ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to government regulation.
Troops have battled for months over territory around the rebels' northern strongholds, promising they would crush the insurgents by the end of the year.
The rebels have strongly resisted and halted some military advances. Diplomats and other observers say the army has faced more resistance than expected.
In the latest infantry clashes, army troops killed 11 rebels in Vavuniya while separate fighting in the nearby Mannar district left six rebels and three soldiers dead Thursday, the official said.
He said clashes in Jaffna and Welioya killed nine rebels while wounding 33 rebels and eight soldiers.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment.
It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because journalists are banned from the northern jungles where much of the fighting takes place. Each side commonly exaggerates its enemy's casualties while playing down its own.
Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for minority Tamils who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by majority Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed.

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