Sri Lanka military launches air strikes against retreating Tamil Tigers

January 11, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military launched air attacks against the last remaining jungle hideouts of Tamil Tiger rebels after driving them out of their main strongholds, officials said on Sunday. “The Sri Lankan army has so far captured four airstrips of the LTTE terrorists during the ongoing counter terrorist operations,” the ministry said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from weekend fighting, but officials said security forces have met with sporadic resistance following the fall of Kilinochchi after months of heavy fighting.

The LTTE has not commented on the latest military claims, but did accuse troops of directing artillery fire towards an internally displaced camp inside rebel-held Mullaittivu on Friday, killing one man and injuring four others.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a New Year’s address that 2009 would be the year of “heroic victory” over the Tigers. Helicopter gunships supported ground troops advancing deeper into the Mullaittivu region, where the retreating Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) forces are holed up, a military official said.

The defence ministry has said the security forces are ready to deal a “decisive blow” to