Sri Lanka steps up air attacks after heavy ground battles: military

December 27, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan war planes carried out attacks against suspected Tamil Tiger strongholds in the island’s north on Saturday as ground forces consolidated newly captured areas, the military said. Fighter jets carried out several sorties over territory held by the Tigers and bombed a suspected rebel meeting place and a boat building facility, a military official said.

He said there were no immediate details of casualties but intercepts of rebel radio communications suggested they suffered heavy losses.

There was no immediate comment from the Tigers.

The air raids came after a day of intense ground battles in the north of the island around the town of Kilinochchi, the besieged political capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“Following confrontations that lasted from dawn to dusk with terrorists, troops expanded their defence line south of Adampan,” the military said referring to a town west of Kilinochchi.

The army had wrested control of the town of Mulliyawalai in the neighbouring district of Mullaittivu on Friday.

The pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website reported that the military had shelled the main hospital in Kilinochchi.

The shells lan