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Sri Lanka says it captures rebel runway

 A police officer stands guard as Red Cross workers bury the bodies of Tamil rebel fighters in a cemetery in Vavuniya, about 210 kilometers (131 miles...
 Red Cross workers bury the bodies of Tamil rebel fighters in a cemetery in Vavuniya, about 210 kilometers (131 miles) northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka...

Sri Lanka Civil War

A police officer stands guard as Red Cross workers bury the bodies of Tamil rebel fighters in a cemetery in Vavuniya, about 210 kilometers (131 miles...

Sri Lanka Civil War

Red Cross workers bury the bodies of Tamil rebel fighters in a cemetery in Vavuniya, about 210 kilometers (131 miles) northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka...

Sri Lankan forces captured a fifth runway used by the Tamil Tigers' small air wing Thursday as troops pushed deeper into their shrinking enclave in the northeast, the military said.
In recent weeks, government troops have forced the rebels to withdraw from wide swaths of their de-facto state in the north and boxed them into a corner of jungle along the coast.
Troops uncovered a runway more than half a mile (more than a kilometer) long carved out of the jungle near the Iranamadu area, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara.
It was the fifth hidden runway the military has captured from the rebels, he said. There were no planes in the area, and it was not clear how many more runways the rebels maintained, he said.
The nascent rebel air force has repeatedly embarrassed the government over the last two years by launching air raids into government-held territory, bombing the airport and a power station in the capital of Colombo and an air base in the north.
The small planes were believed to have been smuggled onto the island in parts and reassembled here.
The rebels could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the military marched further into rebel-held territory, capturing the village of Dharmapuram on the road to the rebels' last remaining stronghold of Mullaittivu, Nanayakkara said. Troops recovered the bodies of four rebels killed in the fighting, he said.
In fighting Wednesday, troops recovered the bodies of six slain rebel fighters, the military said.
Also Wednesday, government forces seized the village of Chundikkulam _ the final strip of rebel-held land on the northern Jaffna peninsula _ giving them full control of the symbolic heart of Sri Lanka's Tamil community, Nanayakkara said.
The rebels have been fighting since 1983 to establish an independent state for minority Tamils, who have suffered marginalization at the hands of successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.


Updated : 2021-07-25 00:24 GMT+08:00