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Sri Lanka Launches New Offensive Against Rebels

July 27, 1996| Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka's military, seeking to avenge its worst defeat in 13 years of civil war, sent jet fighters, field guns and tanks on a new offensive Friday against Tamil guerrilla strongholds in the northern jungles.

Fifteen soldiers were killed and 60 were wounded as the forces marched to within about 3 1/2 miles of Kilinochchi, the town that has become the main base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, military officials said.

Most of the rebels and many civilians appeared to have fled the town. Some international relief agencies also withdrew their workers after the army began building up its forces in the area.

The army put Kilinochchi under curfew, and civilians were told to take shelter in schools, churches or Hindu temples, a military statement said.

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