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SL troops move on rebel-held villages in east

Written by: Staff

Colombo, Aug 28: Sri Lankan troops moved forward towards Tamil Tiger territory in the northeast today, trying to seize villages near a front-line army camp and moving towards a rebel stronghold seen as a key government objective.

A month of the worst fighting since a 2002 truce has killed hundreds, but so far the front lines have barely moved. Now the government says it wants the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) out of the Sampur area overlooking the strategic harbour at Trincomalee, 230 km northeast of Colombo.

''We have commenced a small operation to seize the area around Selvanagar, towards Sampur, around our army camp'' said an army spokesman. ''We don't have any intention of clearing up to Sampur.

We have cleared some areas where LTTE were holding the ground.'' Two soldiers had been killed, he said, but more casualties including wounded were expected. The Tigers have said they will not allow Sampur to fall and will retaliate. The two sides also remain locked in fighting on the northern Jaffna peninsula.


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