Sri Lanka: Shadow Boxing

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July 3, 2006: The war has resumed in the form of low level, but growing, violence. The death toll from the renewed fighting is running at about ten a day, plus several dozen wounded. In the last three months, about 700 people have been killed, most of them civilians. The LTTE is fighting a civil war against moderate factions, and terrorizing Tamils who are deemed insufficiently loyal to the rebel cause. This means the LTTE has not been able to muster the same number of trained combat troops to oppose the army. Yet. The LTTE is still smuggling weapons and munitions into the island, which is why the navy continues to encounter armed LTTE boats off the coast. But the navy has superior firepower, and is using that to cut into the arms smuggling. The air force has also shut down the LTTE air strips that have been operating for the last few years. The LTTE has a few small aircraft, and these are now kept off the island.

July 2, 2006: The LTTE says that is has trained 6,000 civilians for combat, while denying that it is still conscripting teenagers for its combat units. In the last three months, some 40,000 people have fled their homes to escape fighting. Some of this was ethnic cleansing by the LTTE, which tries to drive all non-Tamils (Sinhalese and Moslems) from what it considers LTTE territory.

July 1, 2006: The navy sunk a suspected LTTE boat near a northern naval base. The boat was suspected of scouting the base prior to a raid.

June 28, 2006: Another naval battle, 160 kilometers north of the capital. About twenty small LTTE boats attacked a naval base two navy. Five sailors were killed, as well as at least a dozen rebels. The navy was quickly reinforced the base with more patrol boats and helicopter gunships.

 

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