Sri Lanka fighting kills dozens: military

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrives with flowers to receive blessings at the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday 4 April 2018. On wednesday (4), Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion in the Sri Lankan parliament with a 46 vote majority after a 12-hour debate with 122 MPs voted in his support while 76 MPs voting to remove the prime minister. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

October 9, 2008 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan military advance on the stronghold of the rebel Tamil Tigers in the island’s northeast triggered heavy fighting that claimed casualties on both sides, the defence ministry said Thursday.

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Ground troops backed by warplanes inched towards the rebel capital of Kilinochchi on Wednesday killing 45 guerrillas and wounding 30 more, the ministry said.

It placed government troop losses at eight dead and 48 injured.

The government is looking to deal the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a major psychological blow by taking control of Kilinochchi which has been the rebels’ administrative centre for the past decade.

Sri Lanka’s army chief said over the weekend that his soldiers had reached the outskirts of the town.

There was no immediate comment from the LTTE who are fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils from the majority Sinhalese community.

Sri Lanka pulled out of a six-year Norwegian-brokered truce in January, since when the military says 7,303 rebels and 715 soldiers have been killed.