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Sri Lanka Troops Attack Bunker

July 5, 2000

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Troops attacked and captured sections of the northern Jaffna Peninsula after destroying a Tamil Tiger rebel bunker line, the military said Wednesday.

During Tuesday’s assault, the army killed at least 50 militants in Nagarkovil and Colombuthurai, said Brig. Palitha Fernando, military spokesman. The area is about 20 miles northeast of Jaffna city.

Two government soldiers were killed and 37 were wounded.

``The troops are now consolidating the areas they captured,″ Fernando said.

Government spokesman and chief censor Ariya Rubasinghe said 23 bodies of rebels were recovered, but the others could not be obtained because of rebel fire.

Rubasinghe said three rebels were killed Tuesday when troops destroyed a bunker at Colombuthurai, 10 miles east of Jaffna city.

On Monday, government soldiers attacked four Tamil Tiger bases closer to Jaffna, the military said. Twelve guerrillas were killed and three soldiers were wounded.

The troops have been attempting to keep the rebels from gaining any further ground since they reached the outskirts of Jaffna city, their former capital, after an offensive in April and May.

The militants are fighting to establish a Tamil homeland in the north and east of this island off the southern tip of India. The 17-year war has killed more than 62,000 people on both sides.

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