Tigers killed in Jaffna weapons search

Eight Tamil Tiger separatists have been killed by government forces in the north of Sri Lanka as the group's advance into the Jaffna peninsula stalls.

    Thousands of civilians have fled the fighting in the north

    Five of the Tamil Tiger fighters attacked Sri Lankan troops who were searching for hidden weapons and ammunition in the port of Jaffna, a defence ministry official said on Wednesday. They died in the gun battle that followed but no soldiers were killed, he added.

    The navy said the Tigers had mingled with civilians on an islet to the west of Jaffna where their Sea Tiger naval arm had landed fighters last week.

    Separately on Wednesday, three separatists who had attacked a police patrol in eastern Sri Lanka were killed, a military spokesman said.

    Fighting in the government-held Jaffna peninsula - which borders Tiger-held territory - died down on Tuesday but soldiers continued to carry out search operations along the frontline.

    Sri Lankan warplanes carried out three daylight raids on Tamil positions inside the Tiger-held Wanni region, just south of the Jaffna peninsula, military officials said.

    "Several targets were taken by the air force, but we don't have details yet," a military official said.

    The defence ministry said troops were consolidating their control in the district, adding that there had been sporadic long-range firing but no close-quarter fighting.

    Curfew

    An indefinite curfew is in place on the peninsula and thousands of people have taken refuge in churches.

    The curfew was eased briefly and then reimposed after the military distributed rice and lentils to civilians who had been  trapped by the fighting, a military official said.

    The military said it killed at least 24 separatists on Tuesday at the eastern edge of the peninsula and had beaten back a Tiger offensive against the town of Jaffna.

    Jayawardena said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were attempting to retake Jaffna which was part of a de facto separate state they ran from 1990 to 1995 until troops drove them out.
      
    In the latest fighting, at least 150 soldiers were killed and more than 300 wounded. The military said it had killed more than 250 Tigers and wounded about 300 but the separatists said only 22 had died.

    Towns in the Tiger-controlled north and east observed a strike on Wednesday to protest against a government bombing raid which the Tigers said killed 61 children on Monday.

    Similar strikes took place in Muslim towns along the east of the island to protest against alleged Tamil Tiger attacks against Muslims who form the second largest minority.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.