Sri Lanka makes new push into Tiger territory: military

August 10, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops launched a fresh advance into territory held by Tamil rebels Sunday, killing 15 guerrillas while another 27 combatants were killed in other clashes, the defence ministry said. The latest push was in the Jaffna peninsula, parts of which are held by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the defence ministry said in a statement.

“Fifteen LTTE terrorists were killed when the army made a daring advance ahead of the Killali-Jaffna forward defence lines this morning before first light (and) without sustaining any damage to own troops,” the statement said.

It said another 26 guerrillas and a government soldier were killed in other fighting in the northern parts of the country in fresh fighting since Saturday.

Fighting since Saturday raised the number of rebels killed by troops to 5,714 since January, while 520 soldiers have died in combat during the same period, according to ministry figures.

Independent verification of casualty figures is not possible as the ministry blocks media access to the frontlines.

The government has poured a record 1.5 billion dollars into this year’s war efforts and troops are now concentrating on dismantling the LTTE’s d