Sri Lanka war planes in action as reported death toll rises

COLOMBO, Feb 20, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan military aircraft bombed rebel-held territory on Tuesday, killing at least two villagers, the Tamil Tiger guerrillas said, as the military reported four more deaths.

Sri Lanka’s separatist conflict, led by the Tamil Tigers, has claimed over 60,000 lives. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Israeli-built Kfir jets pounded the village of Arasankulam and that two civilians were killed while a third man was injured.

“Our rescue teams went there and reported that two people were killed on the spot,” LTTE spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said by telephone from the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of the capital Colombo.

The military confirmed the air attacks and said they had bombed two positions inside rebel-held territory. They identified the targets as rebel mortar launch positions, a charge denied by the Tamil Tigers.

The defence ministry said three bodies were found at one location in the government-held northern district of Vavuniya on Tuesday and blamed the deaths on the rebels.

Another man was shot dead Tuesday when he disobeyed an order to stop outside a naval facility in the island’s northwest,