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 Post subject: War on Water - Lanka sends ground troops
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:08 pm 
War on Water - LTTE receive heavy losses
Sri Lanka war planes step up bombing

According to unconfirmed sources, LTTE leader Bahnu is also said to be killed or seriously injured during the air raid. It was revealed that Bahnu, had planned to visit Wanni, after addressing a meeting in the uncleared Karadiyanaru area. Eyewitnesses say about 50 tiger cadres were killed and more than 100 injured in the attack.

@ Yahoo News / Agencies

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Sri Lankan war planes bombed Tamil Tiger positions for a fourth straight day, killing at least eight more rebels, the guerrillas said, as their threadbare truce came under more strain.

The pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website said Israeli-built Kfir jets bombed and destroyed a conference center of the guerrillas deep inside rebel-held territory in the district of Batticaloa.

"Eight Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres were killed and four wounded when Sri Lanka air force bombed Tigers' Thenaham Conference Centre in Karadiyanaru," Tamilnet said Saturday.

The aircraft also bombed another location of the Tigers further north in the neighbouring district of Trincomalee, officials said, adding security forces had no details of casualties.

The bombings escalated after Finland and Denmark said they would withdraw their nationals from the Swedish-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in line with a demand by Tigers that they quit before September 1.

Sri Lankan spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said they were yet to be formally informed by Denmark and Finland of their decisions to quit, but Colombo would resist any moves to reconstitute the SLMM without first being consulted.

"We are against any unilateral move," Rambukwella said. "There is a ceasefire agreement and according to that any decision to change the SLMM must be done through consultations with all."

The LTTE has demanded that observers from European Union members Finland, Denmark and Sweden leave the island after the EU added it to a list of "terrorist" organisations in May. That would leave only Norwegian and Icelandic monitors.

Finland and Denmark announced the pullout Friday. Sweden has yet to announce its stand.

Rambukwella, who is Policy Planning Minister and government spokesman on defence-related matters, said the bombing campaign was aimed at opening an irrigation canal shut down by the Tigers.

SLMM members had gone to the area in a bid to settle the water issue, Rambukwella said. Residents were yet to receive water by Saturday morning.

Officials said artillery exchanges followed air strikes that began Wednesday, further undermining the ceasefire that has been in place since February 2002.

The LTTE said it lost six members on Thursday and another were five wounded.

Two policemen were shot dead in Trincomalee on Friday by suspected Tiger gunmen, police said, pushing the death toll since violence flared in December to at least 910.

Peacebroker Norway is to send special envoy Jon Hansse-Bauer here next month to try to salvage the ceasefire, diplomats said.

Britain's deputy high commissioner Lesley Craig met the Tiger leadership in the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi on Friday and asked them to honour the ceasefire and move towards negotiations, the high commission (embassy) said.

"We stressed the need to dialogue," the mission said after Craig held talks with the leader of the Tigers' political wing, S.P. Thamilselvan.

More than 60,000 people have been killed in the three-decade-old Tamil separatist conflict.


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 Post subject: Lanka sends ground troops to break Tamil rebels' blockade
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 3:11 pm 
Lanka sends ground troops to break Tamil rebels' blockade

@ The Hindu / July 30

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Colombo, July 30. (AP): The Sri Lankan army today massed ground troops to smash a Tamil rebel blockade of a water facility that has cut supplies to government-controlled villages in the northeast.

The rebels severed the water supply on July 20 in retaliaton for what they claim was the Government's reneging on a promise to build a water tower for adjacent areas under rebel control.

Sri Lanka's northeast is divided into Government controlled and rebel-held areas and the status quo has been maintained since the two sides signed a ceasefire in 2002.

"The defense authorities have been tasked with the job to break the blockade," chief Government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella told The Associated Press today. "The forces have been given all options to achieve the aim," Rambukwella said, but declined to elaborate.

But the pro-rebel Website TamilNet said thousands of Sri Lankan troops were moved closer to the sluice gate of a reservoir that is connected with the water facility in preparation for a possible offensive.

Rambukwella said water shortages have hit 60,000 people living in Government-controlled villages and that 30,000 acres of rice fields were at risk due to loss of irrigation water.

Today's development followed the air force bombing of a rebel conference center that killed at least eight guerrillas and wounded four, according to the rebels and the military.

Days of airstrikes have killed a total of 15 rebels, including the eight who died yesterday, the rebels' official peace secretariat Website said.


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