In stepped-up fighting, Sri Lankan security forces gunned down at least 43 Tamil Tigers and lost seven soldiers in the island's restive north, where the Air Force jets today raided an LTTE transport base in the rebel-dominated Kilinochchi area.
The aerial raid targeted the LTTE base located at two kms southwest of the depot junction in Selvanagar in Kilinochchi, the Defence Ministry said.
The raid was launched based on information received through intelligence sources and air surveillances conducted for a long period, Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Andy Wijesooriya said.
The pilots confirmed that the target was accurately hit, he said.
In ground clashes, at least nine Tigers were killed in south of Adampan in northwestern Mannar after troops destroyed seven LTTE bunkers yesterday, the Defence Ministry said.
In another incident, troops gunned down five rebels in Muhamale in Jaffna peninsula yesterday, the army said.
One army officer and a solder were killed in Muhamalai yesterday due to an explosion of an Improvised Explosive Device, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said.
It said that two rebels were killed in Navathkulam in northern Vavuniya yesterday while two women Tigers were gunned down in Kallikulam.
At Periyapandisurichchan in Vavuniya, army snipers deployed in the defence line killed an LTTE cadre.
On the Mannar front, troops stationed at Vannakulam came under heavy mortar shelling by LTTE cadres last evening resulting in the killing of two soldiers and injuries to two others, the Defence Ministry said.
In Periyakulam area of Mannar, troops killed at least 10 guerrillas in a fierce battle on Thursday, the MCNS said, adding two army men lost their lives in the incident while six others suffered injuries.
On the Welioya front in Jaffna, troops confronted with a group of rebels resulting in death of one soldier and injuries to another, the Defence Ministry said.
In an area north of Janakapura, troops said they killed two LTTE cadres.
In another incident in the north of Kiribbanwewa, one rebels was killed in a clash yesterday, the LTTE radio transmission revealed.
While two rebels were gunned down in Adankulam yesterday, at least six others were killed in the same area later in the day in clashes with the army, the MCNS said.
Separately, an LTTE cadre was shot dead in Pandivirichchan area of Mannar yesterday and two other rebels were gunned down in Marathamodai in Vavuniya, the MCNS said.
Meanwhile, decomposed bodies of at least 16 civilians, hacked to death by suspected LTTE rebels, were found buried in Kriketuwewa area in north central Sri Lanka.
"Police have found several bodies of youth dumped in a swamp at Kiriketuwewa on the Horoupathana - Kebithigollawa road by suspected LTTE militants on Thursday evening," a defence ministry statement said today.
The victims are believed to be a group of civilians who had gone searching for their cattle, it said. Initially the incident was reported to the police by the civilians in the area, the statement said, adding the victims were apparently "hacked to death".