Oct 11, 2006 (AFP) – At least 85 people were killed and more than 400 wounded when a new military offensive Wednesday met with ferocious resistance from Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka, both sides said. Intense fighting halted the government’s onslaught into rebel territory, which was backed by Israeli-built Kfir jets and naval gunboats, after about six hours, high-ranking military sources said.
Thirty-eight soldiers and six officers were killed with another 400 soldiers wounded, according to military sources who said that an unspecified number of troops were also missing.
Some 115 soldiers were airlifted about 400 kilometres (250 miles) to Colombo from Jaffna, officials said.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they beat back the military and also captured the bodies of 75 soldiers.
The Tigers placed their own losses at 10 killed.
“The LTTE recovered more than 75 bodies of Sri Lankan soldiers,” the Tigers said in a statement. “Efforts are now underway to hand over the bodies to the Sri Lankan military through the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
The renewed fighting hit Sri Lanka’s hopes of a political settlement to end bloodshed a day after peace broker No