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The World : Tamils' Escape Routes Cut

October 21, 1987

Indian troops seized a major road in the city of Jaffna in Sri Lanka and cut escape routes of Tamil rebels from their last major stronghold, an Indian official said. Sri Lankan military sources said the separatists continued fierce resistance, but the Indians controlled strategic positions throughout the embattled city in the heart of the island's Tamil-dominated northern region. Reports said two-thirds of the 150,000 residents had either fled the city, 185 miles north of the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, or sought refuge in schools, Hindu temples and public buildings. About 17,000 Indian soldiers are in Sri Lanka trying to end a four-year-old guerrilla war by minority Tamils, who are mainly Hindus, against the Sinhalese-dominated government.

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