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Lankan Prez declares war will continue until last Tiger is killed

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Aug 20, IRNA

Sri Lanka-LTTE-Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that the military campaign against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will continue 'until the last rebel is killed or every inch of land is captured'.

President Rajapaksa made these remarks while addressing an election rally of his United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at Ruwanwella in Sabaragamuwa province.

'We liberated the eastern province and will liberate the north too very shortly. There is no turning back under any circumstances or influence now, until every inch of land is recaptured and each and every terrorist is killed or captured,' the state-run Daily News quoted the president as saying at the rally.

Pointing out that it was by no means an easy task and that the troops have to face 'daunting challenges and obstacles as they proceed', the president however, expressed hope that 'they would end up victoriously'.

Remarks by President Rajapaksa, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has come at a time when advancing troops are locked in fierce fighting with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north.

Meanwhile, the defence ministry said in a report Tuesday that the LTTE launched heavy artillery attacks, targeting troops manning the defences at Muhamalai and Nagarkovil areas in Jaffna peninsula, leaving three soldiers dead and two wounded Monday.

'The troops responded with artillery and rocket fire and brought the situation under control. Three soldiers were killed in the attack,' the ministry said Tuesday.

The Media Centre for National Security said that at least 21 guerrillas were killed and as many wounded in separate clashes with the troops in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Weli-Oya areas in the north Monday. It said 12 soldiers were wounded.

Meanwhile, Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday tacitly admitted they were losing ground in the face of a major military offensive by warning that thousands of civilians in the north were at risk.

In their first public acknowledgement that government forces were moving deeper into areas previously held by them, the Tigers said civilians have had to move several times because of the military onslaught.

"Persistent shelling in this area, where two weeks ago a large number of internally displaced people sought refuge, forced them to (move) again further inside Kilinochchi," the Tigers said, referring to their political capital.

"Such multiple displacements are also adding to the delays in providing adequate shelter," the Tigers said in a statement.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been fighting for a separate ethnic state since 1972, accused the military of shelling civilian settlements.

The Sri Lankan government denied the rebel claims and said authorities were providing food and shelter to displaced civilians living in areas still under rebel control.

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