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The News Line: Feature HEAVY CHRISTMAS EVE FIGHTING IN KI’LINOCHCHI THERE is very heavy fighting around the Tamil Tigers’ stronghold of Ki’linochchi on the eve of Christmas as the Tamil Tigers are defending the Tamil people with tremendous bravery and determination.

Tamil Net reports that more than 100 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and at least 250 wounded on Monday when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) repulsed a fresh offensive push.

S Puleedevan, the director of LTTE’s Peace Secretariat, quoted LTTE’s field commanders as saying that heavy fighting raged from 5.30 to 12.45 when the SLA attempted to advance from Uruththirapuram towards Ki’linochchi and Ira’naimadu.

Several corpses of the SLA soldiers were seen on the battlefield and the Tigers were engaged in seizing arms and ammunition after routing the offensive on two fronts, Puleedevan added.

The fighting was continuing on three fronts.

Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers were also engaged in attacking LTTE Forward Defence Line localities in Ki’linochchi.

Meanwhile, sources in Puthukkuiyiruppu said the SLAF bombers were engaged in air raids along the Mullaiththeevu coastal area, attacking several localities throughout the day.

The fresh offensive push comes after the Tigers claimed that the SLA suffered 170 deaths and more than 250 wounded six days ago on 16 December and a preemptive strike on Saturday that killed 60 SLA soldiers.

Meanwhile, a 45-year-old staff member attached to the Jaffna office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was shot dead by unknown armed men in Jaffna Tuesday morning at 7.10, police said.

The victim, Suntharalingam Gengatharan, was shot in the head in front of the UNHCR office in Jaffna, 100 metres from Nalloor temple, while he was on his way to the ICRC office.
The killing took place in a top security area, protected by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) where NGO and UN offices are situated.

The victim is a father of two and a native of Karaveddi in Vadamaraadchi.

The residential representative of the ICRC in Jaffna has confirmed that Mr Gengatharan was an ICRC employee.

Earlier on Sunday morning, the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) arrested 29 civilians, who were fleeing the Sri Lankan Army’s continuing artillery barrage and bombings of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held areas in Vadamaraadchi East, Iyakkachchi and Pa’lai, across Ki’laali lagoon.

The boat, with a six-months-old infant child and a pregnant woman dared to cross the lagoon, but was about to sink when the SLN arrested them.

The arrested persons are detained in the SLN camp in Naakatheavanthu’rai in Poonakari.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) artillery shelling killed a 14-year-old boy in Vaddakkachchi on Monday around 10.30am.

And a 32-year-old father sustained injuries in the shelling that continued.

In the morning, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fighter jets dropped bombs near Ki’linochchi hospital around 6.20am causing panic among the patients and the staff at the hospital.

A mother of four children, a male and a 13-year-old boy were wounded in the bombardment. Shrapnel hit the hospital building causing damage.

A 56-year-old female was wounded in Vattaappazhai in Mullaiththeevu district and at least 17 houses sustained damage in Monday’s Sri Lankan bombardment.

Thushyanthan, 14, was killed in Vaddakkachchi on Hudson Road. The dead body of the boy was being kept at Tharmapuram hospital. S Nathan, 32, was wounded in Vaddakkachchi at noontime.

Thevarajah Thavamalar, 68, a mother of four, Kanakarajah Sivakanthan, 40, and Chandran Kamal, 13 were wounded in the airstrike in the vicinity of the Ki’linochchi hospital.

l A Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) sailor attached to Kaarainakar SLN base in Jaffna shot himself to death last Friday night, according to a statement made by the Officer-in-Charge of Kaarainakar SLN base to Oorkaavatturai (Kayts) police.

Gunfire was heard on Friday night after which the body of the SLN sailor was found with gunshot wounds by the SLN in Kaarainakar, the statement said.

An Oorkaavattu’rai magistrate conducted the inquest into the death and directed the police to send the body to the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) for post mortem examination and to submit the examination report to the Ookaavattu’rai court.

The magistrate further directed the police to make arrangements to send the body to the sailor’s home town following the post mortem examination.

The police are investigating the incident to ascertain whether it was suicide or homicide.

There have been earlier cases of SLN sailors committing suicide in Allaippiddi and Neduntheevu in the islets of Jaffna.

The reason for the suicides is said to be the frustration among the SLN sailors posted in the islets of Jaffna, sources in Kaarainakar said.

l Ranil Wickremasinghe, the leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), in a letter sent to the Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasri Wickremanayake has urged him to take immediate steps to summon the Sri Lankan parliament, under Section 16 of the Standing Order, immediately before the end of the year to discuss the critical situation that prevails in the country following the government’s failure to obey the order of the Supreme Court to cut fuel prices.

The parliament is in recess after the adoption of the 2009 budget in the first week of December, parliamentary sources said.

The letter has been signed by Ranil Wickremasinghe, party chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, John Amaratunge, Ravi Karunanayake and Palitha Ranga Bandara.

The letter was handed over to Ratnasri Wickramanayake on Monday morning at his office by UNP parliamentarians John Amaratunge and Ravi Karunanayake.

Wickremasinghe said high level discussions should be held in parliament to prevent economic instability after the government disregarded the court order that directed the authorities concerned to reduce the price of fuel with immediate effect.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) workers yesterday warned of a blackout during Christmas time if their bonus, which has been cut, is not restored by today.

CEB United Trade Union Front Steering Committee Member and Sri Lanka CEB Workers Union General Secretary Ranjan Jayalal said that they would go for an all out strike if the government continued to turn a deaf ear to their request.

The union alleged that their bonus had been cut by Rs 5,000 this year and it was a blow for the workers, especially because of the festive season.

They said it is unfair on the part of the government to cut the bonuses of the dedicated workers of the CEB.

Meanwhile, the workers have decided to stage a protest today near the CEB office in Fort and a work stoppage from 8.00am.



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