Thu, Apr 19, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Air attacks on Tamil rebels strike guerrilla stronghold

AP , COLOMBO

A Sri Lankan air force raid on a Tamil rebel base in the island's north may have killed or wounded as many as 70 guerrillas, the Defense Ministry said yesterday, as air attacks continued for a second day.

The raids are part of stepped-up tit-for-tat attacks between the Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan forces.

The rebel base "suffered major damage due to our bombing" on Tuesday, said Lieutenant Colonel Upali Rajapakse of the Defense Ministry's information center, citing visuals taken from the air.

"Generally 60 to 70 [guerrillas] live in such bases and we believe that they have died or [been] wounded due to the bombing and resulting explosions," Rajapakse said.

Air force planes struck the Tiger camp in Vattappalai village in Mullaitivu district, a guerrilla stronghold, he said. Later on Tuesday, the air force targeted the rebels' Iranamadu air facility, air force spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva told reporters yesterday.

The air facility is in Kilinochchi district and reportedly has an air strip. Details of the damage were not immediately available.

Silva said air force bombers targeted a rebel communication facility in Mullaitivu district. A rebel camp in Kilinochchi where insurgents had gathered for a meeting of their intelligence officials was also bombed, Silva said.

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