Sri Lanka blocks Tamil Tiger supply route

Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - Troops in Sri Lanka have blocked a key supply route used by the Tamil Tigers in possible preparation for a delayed major assault on the rebels' northern heartland, military experts said Monday. The military has been trying to break into the stronghold, the Wanni, for weeks but took some nearby areas on Saturday, including the coastal village of Silavattura, officials aid

"This was not the big push. What the army has captured is a key transit point of the Tigers," a top military official said, declining to be named.

"They used this location to smuggle in supplies from India.

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) indirectly admitted that the military had taken the coastal village when they accused security forces of killing nine civilians fleeing the military onslaught.

Aid officials said at least a dozen civilians were killed in weekend fighting in the district of Mannar. Both the rebels and government forces blamed each other for the civilian deaths.

Retired army brigadier general Vipul Boteju said the weekend clashes could be a warm up for a bigger offensive aimed at dismantling the mini-state run by the rebels in Wanni.

"This may have a psychological imp

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