Sri Lanka Tigers suffer heavy casualties: ministry

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrives with flowers to receive blessings at the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday 4 April 2018. On wednesday (4), Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion in the Sri Lankan parliament with a 46 vote majority after a 12-hour debate with 122 MPs voted in his support while 76 MPs voting to remove the prime minister. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

October 1, 2008 (AFP) – Around 30 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed and 36 wounded in the latest ground and air attacks by government forces against their north Sri Lankan stronghold, the island’s defence ministry said Wednesday. Three soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in the fighting on Tuesday, the ministry said.

The military says the rebels have lost 7,086 since January, when Colombo pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire.

The defence ministry has acknowledged the loss of 694 soldiers over the same period.

Having wrested the east from the Tigers in July 2007, the military says troops are four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Kilinochchi town, the administrative centre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse was also quoted as saying Wednesday “it’s now a matter of time” before the north is captured.

“It is the beginning of the end of LTTE terrorists,” Rajapakse told state media.

Tens of thousands have died on both sides in one of Asia’s longest running conflicts.