Explosion kills six in Sri Lanka as foreigners prepare to ship out

Aug 26, 2006 (AFP) - A bomb killed six Sri Lankan soldiers and wounded 11 Saturday as they cleared up after fierce fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels in the besieged northern Jaffna peninsula, a military source said. In some areas fuel was being sold at four times the normal price and piped water was available only four hours a day, it said. The improvised device exploded as soldiers maintained their defences on the frontline at Muhamalai on the peninsula where 11 days of battles left some 650 rebels and soldiers dead.

"Troops were on an operation clearing bunker lines when an IED (improvised explosive device) went off and six soldiers were killed and 11 injured," said the source from Jaffna.

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The authorities said the rebels left booby traps and improvised explosives behind after a failed attempt to capture the peninsula by seaborne Tamil Tiger rebels that dealt a further blow to a tattered 2002 ceasefire.

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Sri Lankan warplanes later bombed a rebel mortar position near the front line, the defence ministry said.

The Tigers have fought a three-decade battle for a homeland for the minority Tamil population in the country's northeast and the cultural capital of Jaffna is seen as symbolically important to bot

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