Sri Lanka fighting resumes after ceasefire

April 15, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan security forces resumed their offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the island on Wednesday following a brief holiday ceasefire, the two sides said. The navy attacked two Tamil Tiger boats that tried to approach the coastline on Wednesday, killing at least 10 guerrillas, navy spokesman Captain D. K. P. Dassanayake said.

The sea battle came at the end of a 48-hour ceasefire declared by President Mahinda Rajapakse to coincide with the traditional New Year shared by both majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils.

A military official said government forces were involved in “normal operations” aimed at finishing off the last of the Tigers, who are facing defeat after 37 years of fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.

The army said in a statement that two soldiers had been killed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the ceasefire. The attack was launched from a government-designated “no-fire zone,” the army said.

“Belittling the 48-hour humanitarian pause declared by His Excellency the President… LTTE snipers in the ‘no-fire zone’ fired and killed one more soldier on Tuesday morning,” the army said.

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