At least 38 Tamil Tiger rebel fighters and government soldiers have been killed in fresh fighting in Sri Lanka, the defense ministry said yesterday.
The guerrillas killed seven soldiers in an attack inside Yala National Park, Sri Lanka's main wildlife sanctuary in the southeast, a military official said.
Six of the soldiers died in an overnight attack on an army outpost, and the seventh trooper was killed and three more wounded in a mine attack as additional troops poured into the area, officials said.
"A pocket of isolated terrorists had attempted to overrun the army outpost," the defense ministry said in a statement. "Troops supported by reinforcements successfully managed to chase the terrorists away."
EXCHANGE OF FIRE
In separate fighting, at least 30 rebels were killed and many more wounded in several exchanges of fire on Monday in the island's north, where a frontline divides government territory and a Tamil Tiger mini-state, the defense ministry said.
"Sri Lanka army soldiers launched several pre-emptive strikes immediately ahead of their forward defenses in Wanni and in Jaffna killing over 30 terrorists," the ministry said in a statement.
In the northern skirmishes, one government soldier was also killed and seven were wounded, the ministry said.
No independent confirmation of the claim was immediately available, and there was no comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The attack inside the Yala sanctuary came a day before authorities were due to open it to visitors following the park's annual six-week shutdown.
The guerrillas have carried out several attacks against security forces and wildlife employees, and three of the five zones within the 1,000km2 park reserve have remained closed for several years following Tiger attacks.
The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1972 for autonomy in the island's north and east in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands.
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client