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UPDATED: 10:26, September 22, 2006
Sri Lanka Air Force bombs rebel positions in north
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Sri Lanka Air Force conducted air raids on Tamil Tiger artillery positions in the northern Jaffna peninsula on Thursday, defense officials said.

The bombing destroyed the artillery gun positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Pooneryn area, about 400 km north of the capital Colombo, the officials added.

However, the pro-rebel website Tamilnet claimed that the bombs had landed at a village and destroyed at least five civilian houses in the area.

Also in the Jaffna peninsula, the rebel continued its sporadic artillery attacks on the Army's forward defense lines at Muhamalai on Thursday, officials said.

The rebels were using their gun positions in Pooneryn to attack the military's air base at Palali in Jaffna when the fighting broke out in mid-August.

The intense clashes broke out in spite of the ongoing Norwegian backed cease-fire and the 3-week battle has killed over 500 on both sides.

The clashes also displaced over 40,000 from Jaffna and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a statement issued Thursday said the internally displaced people's situation " remains a cause of humanitarian concern."

"The population on the peninsula has been enduring the hardships of isolation and their concerns have focused on whether food supplies will reach them regularly," the ICRC statement said.

The two sides stand deadlocked in the military confrontations despite calls by the international community to get back to the process of negotiations.

There is no firm word yet whether the two sides would opt to meet in Oslo early next month as stated by Norway's Minister of International Development Erik Solheim on Sept. 12 in Brussels.

Both sides say they remain committed to the cease-fire and the process of negotiations and the military action is taken only in self defense.

Source: Xinhua

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