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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sri Lanka troops shell Tiger targets in Jaffna

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops have fired rockets and artillery at suspected Tamil Tiger positions in the island's northeast, amid a reduction in fighting in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, the military said.

Troops in the port town of Trincomalee used multi-barrel rocket launchers to pound positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Sampur, a local military official in the region said.

The LTTE have fired artillery from Sampur at the port where government forces load boats to resupply some 40,000 troops besieged in Jaffna by the rebels.

"The firing started this morning because the Tigers had fired mortar bombs at several army camps overnight," an official said.

The long-range attacks came amid a lull in fighting in the Jaffna peninsula where 159 soldiers and 487 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in 11 days of fighting, according to the military.

The LTTE accused the military of launching the attacks in the Jaffna peninsula while the army said it was the Tigers who fired the first shot.

The fighting erupted despite a truce between the two sides put in place by peacebroker Norway in February 2002.

More than 60,000 people have been killed in the Tamil separatist conflict in the past three decades.
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