Sri Lanka says 37 Tamil Tigers killed, carries out air strikes

Feb 6, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan war planes Wednesday bombed targets inside Tamil Tiger-held territory in the north as ground forces clashed with the rebels, leaving 37 guerrillas and five soldiers dead, the defence ministry said. War planes hit a location near Iranamadu on Wednesday morning after government forces destroyed some 30 bunkers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) along front lines in the Jaffna peninsula, the ministry said.

It said at least 12 members of the LTTE were killed while the security forces suffered five wounded in the pre-dawn attack in the Jaffna peninsula.

In other clashes along the southern defences of the LTTE’s mini-state, at least 25 guerrillas and five government soldiers were said to have been killed since late Tuesday.

The defence ministry said another 21 government soldiers were also wounded in the clashes.

There was no immediate word from the LTTE.

In the town of Vavuniya, 265 kilometres (160 miles) north of here, shops and offices closed Wednesday as a sign of protest against Tamil Tiger bomb attacks targeting civilians, residents said.

They said streets were empty and people remained indoors after the one-day strike called by a pro-government Tamil poli