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67 killed in Lanka clashes as air force targets LTTE base
T V Sriram in Colombo | January 30, 2008 20:07 IST
Sri Lankan fighter jets on Wednesday pounded a 'field headquarters' of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and destroyed at least 35 rebel bunkers in the island's embattled north as security forces gunned down 64 rebels and lost three of their soldiers in ground clashes in the restive region.
The Air Force bombed the field headquarters of the LTTE at Weddukadu in the rebel-held Mulaitivu district on Wednesday morning, the defence ministry said.
In ground clashes, at least 10 rebels were killed in Nagarkovil and Muhamale areas in northern Jaffna, the Media Centre for National Security said.
At least 35 LTTE bunkers were also destroyed in the area, it said, adding this could have led to 25-30 rebels getting injured or killed.
Meanwhile, the LTTE claimed in a statement that the Sri Lankan Army was 'beaten back' in the incident and 'returned to their own fortified localities with casualties'.
In another clash at Pallaikkuli in north of Mannar, security forces killed 12 LTTE cadres on Tuesday, the defence ministry said, adding four soldiers were also injured in the incident.
It said troops destroyed nine LTTE bunkers on Tuesday at Vannakulam in north-western Mannar. Ten guerrillas were killed in the incident and many were reported missing. Three LTTE women cadres were among those killed in the incident. Their bodies were left behind by the fleeing rebels, the ministry said.
Separately, Army snipers deployed in Karukkakulama and Parappakandal areas in Mannar said that 10 rebels were shot dead on Tuesday.
In the Vavuniya front, 11 more Tiger rebels were killed in a series of clashes between troops and the LTTE cadres on Tuesday.
At Vilathikulam in Vavuniya, troops ambushed a group of LTTE rebels killing four of them, the MCNS said. In another incident in the same area, the Tigers fired mortar at troops, killing two soldiers.
At Andankulam in north-eastern Welioya in Jaffna, one soldier lost his life in a clash, the defence ministry said. Troops also killed two rebels in a clash at Navatkulama in Vavuniya on Tuesday.
Three LTTE cadres were killed in Kallikulam when troops ambushed a group of Tiger rebels there, the MCNS said.
In a similar incident in Periyapantrichchuchan area of Mannar, troops said two rebels were gunned down in a clash.