Sri Lanka planes bomb rebel positions, country on alert

COLOMBO, Aug 16, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan war planes bombed Tamil Tiger positions Wednesday as troops hunted rebel infiltrators in northern Jaffna peninsula after resisting a guerrilla advance, officials said.

The Swedish-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission has said that the February 2002 ceasefire now “exists only on paper.”

The Tigers and the government have blamed each other for the upsurge in fighting which has claimed more than 1,400 lives by official count since December.

More than 60,000 people have died in three decades of ethnic conflict.

Israeli-built Kfir jets hit Tiger targets inside the rebel-held Wanni region, just south of the Jaffna peninsula, military officials said, adding they had no immediate details of casualties.

“Several targets were taken by the air force, but we don’t have details yet,” a military official here said.

Troops and police across the country were on alert and schools nationwide remained shut as the government feared rebel reprisals for a deadly air raid which killed dozens of children on Monday.

In Jaffna, soldiers in full battle gear carried out searches for rebel infiltrators along a front line within the peninsula where heavy fighti