Sri Lanka takes Tiger defences, kills scores: defence ministry

November 20, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan security forces on Thursday captured a key defence line of Tamil Tiger rebels after six days of intense fighting that left “scores” of guerrillas dead, the defence ministry said. The rebels are locked in a decades-long war with the government to carve out a homeland for minority Tamils.

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Government troops took a near five-kilometre (three-mile) front from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) following a new thrust that began on Saturday, the ministry said.

Despite the LTTE’s stiff resistance, troops captured the strategically important defence line from Muhamalai to Kilaly in the Jaffna peninsula, the ministry said in a statement.

“In continuous military thrust launched by 53 and 55 Divisions, terrorists were unable to defend their defence line,” the statement said adding that Tigers suffered “scores” of losses while troops “minimised” their casualties.

The statement came a day after the Tigers said they beat back a new push into their territory by government troops as heavy fighting raged across the island’s north.

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