Tigers open new front as battle for water claims more lives

Aug 2, 2006 (AFP) – Tiger rebels attacked three army camps and a town in Sri Lanka Wednesday, sparking fierce fighting which killed at least 47 by official count and opened new fronts in a week-long battle over water. The deaths — which now total at least 118 since Monday — have made a mockery of a truce in place since February 2002, although both the government and the Tigers have said they are still committed to it.

The rebels’ pre-dawn artillery barrages Wednesday targeted the army camps and the mainly Muslim fishing town of Muttur.

The Tigers also fired mortar bombs early Wednesday at troops near the sluice gates of the Maavilaru irrigation system 10 kilometres (six miles) from the town, wounding eight people including six civilians.

Troops called in warplanes to hit the Tigers’ gun positions and after silencing the fire launched a house-to-house search in Muttur for any rebels, military officials said.

The military lost two soldiers and three sailors killed at Muttur and 30 security personnel wounded, the defence ministry said.

Two civilians, including a hospital worker, were killed when a Tiger shell hit the town’s hospital.

“During the whole incident, troops attacked the terrorists in