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Lankan military bombs Prabhakaran base

world Updated: Jan 23, 2008 23:22 IST
TV Sriram

Elusive LTTE supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran may have had a narrow escape on Wednesday as Sri Lankan Air Force jets destroyed a key rebel base in Kilinochchi frequented by him.

The 53-year-old "LTTE chief could have been there (at the base) just 15 minutes prior to the aerial bombardment by the Sri lankan Air force," the state-owned Independent Television Network (ITN) reported.

The military, which has stepped up its offensive since the scrapping of the ceasefire early this month, targeted the "X-ray base" base located East of Iranamadu Tank in the Kalmadukulama area.

Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Andi Wijesoriya said the target has been a regular visiting place of Prabhakaran.

Fighter pilots have confirmed that the target was accurately hit, he added.

The air raid was timed with a "special" activity that was going on at the LTTE base, a Defence Ministry statement said. It, however, did not say anything on the fate of Prabhakarn who suffered a series of setbacks last year.

The LTTE's political wing chief SP Thamilselvan was killed in an air strike in November and weeks later the military claimed Prabhakarn too was injured in an airforce attack but the LTTE refuted the report.

Fighting between the Tamil Tigers and troops has intensified in the north after the government ended the 2002 Norwegian-brokered ceasefire with the rebels on Jan 16.

At least 10 LTTE militants and a soldier were killed in fresh clashes in the country's north, the army said on Wednesday.