Sri Lanka gunships strike Tamil Tiger targets: military

June 21, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka launched air attacks in rebel-held territory in the island’s north on Saturday as ground troops killed at least four guerrillas, the defence ministry said. The air force deployed helicopter gunships to bomb suspected positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Mannar district, the ministry said.

“Sri Lanka air force MI-24 helicopter gunships raided a gathering place of the LTTE” in Mannar, the ministry said in a statement.

It gave no details of casualties, but said four Tiger rebels were killed Saturday in separate ground battles elsewhere in the same region.

The latest clashes raised to 4,339 the number of rebels reported killed by security forces since January, while 399 security personnel have died in combat over the same period, according to the defence ministry.
There was no comment from the Tigers.

The figures cannot be independently verified due to restrictions on front-line reporting. The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority since 1972. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.