Sri Lanka steps up air raid on suspected LTTE targets

October 1st, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Oct 1 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Air Force Wednesday stepped up bombings of suspected Tamil Tiger bases in the north where the military is engaged in efforts to wrest territory from the guerrillas.According to military authorities, fighter jets bombed at least six targets of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) amid reports that two civilians were killed in one of the air raids.

Barely five hours after targeting a “high-profile rebel leaders hideout” in Mullaitivu district early Wednesday, the defence ministry said that the jets carried out simultaneous “twin air raids” on two key LTTE facilities in a Kilinochchi suburb at 10.25 a.m.

“A target engaged was identified as a major foothold of the LTTE’s ‘Charles Anthony unit’ while the other was described as a hardcore female terrorist training facility,” the defence ministry said.

The Charles Antony unit is known as an elite fighting unit of the LTTE.

Also Wednesday afternoon, fighter jets flew over the LTTE’s “administrative capital” of Kilinochchi “and carried out three air raids simultaneously targeting LTTE administration and logistic bases.

“All three targets were engaged accurately,” the defence ministry said in a separate report Wednesday. There was no immediate reaction from the rebels.

However, the pro-rebel TamilNet website claimed that at least two civilians were killed and 13 wounded during a morning air raid about one kilometre south of Kilinochchi town.

Claiming that two children and women were among the wounded civilians, it said that 19 houses were destroyed in the raid.

The advancing government troops are currently operating only about four to five kilometers away from Kilinochchi, the LTTE’s political hub located 354 km north of Colombo.

The UN and other aid agencies have already moved out of the rebel-held areas to nearby government-controlled region citing security reasons. Thousands of civilians have also moved from Kilinochchi deeper into the rebel-held areas in the north.

The LTTE has been fighting against the Sri Lankan state to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the northern and eastern part of the island for the past quarter century.

Thousands have died in fighting between the LTTE and the military since late 2005.

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