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Sri Lanka: 20 Tiger rebels killed

T V Sriram in Colombo | December 24, 2008 20:54 IST

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Sri Lankan fighter jets on Wednesday pounded Tamil Tigers position near the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam strongholds of Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu in the embattled north as the advancing forces killed at least 20 militants in fierce clashes near the de facto capital of rebels, officials said.

Lankan security forces on Tuesday killed at least 20 rebels as troops captured a strategic area near the rebel headquarters of Kilinochchi, the defence ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Lankan fighters carried out heavy bombings of rebel position near Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu as their advancing forces captured a hidden air strip used by the Air Wing of the LTTE [Images], military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.

"Troops have found a third LTTE air strip which is 200 metre-long north of Ampakamam in Mullaittivu District," Nanayakkara said.

Though the government forces are in control of three hidden runaways, the Tigers are still able to make their fledging air wing operational.

As fighters carried out air strikes, the ground forces claimed to have captured new areas to widen their dragnet around the two last LTTE bastions of Mullaittivu and Kilinochchi.

The Lankan air attacks were concentrated on Paranthan, which their forces captured last night after intense battles.

Paranthan village lies to the north of Kilinochchi and the government spokesman said a large number of LTTE cadres were killed in the battle.

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