Sri Lanka troops flush Tigers from Jaffna

January 14, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops have established total control over the northern peninsula of Jaffna Wednesday after flushing out the last remaining pockets of rebel resistance, defence officials said.

“The Tigers have not specified a place where the Red Cross can hand over the bodies to them,” a hospital official said. “Because we have no storage facilities, we have arranged for the burials after forensic examinations.”

Both the military and the Tigers had earlier used the International Committee of the Red Cross to swap their war dead.

The burials came as warplanes bombed and destroyed two LTTE artillery guns, the defence ministry said. It was not clear how many artillery pieces the Tigers still had.

The air force had stepped up strikes against the remaining LTTE strong points in the island’s north Tuesday with at least 10 bombing sorties, a ministry spokesman said.

Fighting was also reported around guerrilla-controlled Mullaittivu district.

The LTTE has not commented on the latest fighting, but has admitted losing ground in recent weeks — including the town of Kilinochchi, which they used as their political base for nearly a decade. Security forces fought their way int