Sri Lankan jet strikes after Tiger plane attack

August 27, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan jets carried out retaliatory attacks against Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday, a day after the guerrillas used a light aircraft to bomb a key naval facility, officials said. Tens of thousands of people have died since the LTTE launched a separatist campaign in 1972 to carve out a homeland for minority Tamils in the majority Sinhalese island’s north and east.

War planes hit a bunker line of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Wanni region, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, a military official said.

The attack came as the defence ministry reported that at least 27 Tamil rebels and two soldiers were killed across Sri Lanka’s embattled north in fresh ground battles on Tuesday.

The latest fighting raised the number of rebels killed by troops since January to 6,130, according to defence ministry figures. The government says 576 of its troops have died over the same period.

Casualty figures from the two sides cannot be verified as the military blocks media access to the front lines and rebel-controlled areas.

On Tuesday night, a Tamil Tiger light aircraft dropped bombs on the main naval base in the northeastern port district o