Friday, December 26, 2008

Sri Lanka takes key Tiger town after Christmas Day battles: military

COLOMBO (AFP) — Government forces on Friday wrested control of a strategic town after heavy fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels that left at least 40 people dead, the defence ministry said.

Security forces entered the town of Mulliyawalai near Mullaittivu, the main military headquarters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the defence ministry said.

"Troops are now engaged in a fierce gun battle with the LTTE in the area," the ministry said in a statement. It said the Tigers had suffered heavy losses but did not give details of the latest fighting.

In an earlier statement, the ministry said troops shot dead at least 40 Tamil Tiger rebels and beat back counter-attacks by the Tigers on Christmas Day.

Those clashes erupted Thursday along at least three fronts outside the town of Kilinochchi, the besieged political capital of the LTTE, the ministry said.

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