120 Tigers, 25 soldiers die in Sri Lanka

December 16th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Dec 16 (IANS) At least 120 Tamil Tiger guerrillas and 25 soldiers were killed and over 400 wounded on both sides in heavy fighting Tuesday between the advancing troops and the rebels in Sri Lanka’s north, military officials said.Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops, backed by artillery and mortars, broke out of their defences at Muhamalai and Kilali in Jaffna peninsula and destroyed several forward defence positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The soldiers then returned to their original positions.

At the same time, troops operating on the outskirts of Kilinochchi and adjoining villages such as Paranthan and Iranaimadhu launched simultaneous assaults on LTTE bunker lines and captured vast stretches.

According to Brig. Nanayakkara, the troops have breached rebel defences at several locations and captured a five-kilometre stretch of LTTE built earth bund-cum-ditch west of Paranthan and Kilinochchi amid fierce counter attack by the Tigers.

“The LTTE has got a heavy beating at both locations, with over 120 LTTE cadres being killed and 250 more wounded. Twenty-five soldiers were also killed and 10 reported missing in action while 160 soldiers were wounded during the day,” Brig. Nanayakkara told IANS.

He said that fighting in the Kilinochchi-Paranthan-Iranaimadhu areas was still on even as the troops consolidated the newly captured areas.

Meanwhile, a pro-rebel website claimed that the Sri Lankan Army launched the offensive at 1.30 a.m., but the military was forced to pull back after nine hours of heavy fighting with heavy casualties.

“More than 40 soldiers were killed and at least 120 wounded when the LTTE repulsed an offensive by the army in Kilali,” the pro-LTTE TamilNet website quoting LTTE sources as saying.

Sri Lanka is determined to capture the rebel-held districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi. Its troops are advancing from several directions and are now said to be operating on the outskirts of Kilinochchi, a town some 350 km north of Colombo which for long has been the LTTE political hub.

The LTTE is fighting to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the north and east of the island. Thousands have died in escalating fighting since late 2005.

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