Tamil rebels lose last airstrip to Sri Lanka army

February 4, 2009 02:36


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Sri Lanka's military said it has captured the last remaining Tamil Tiger-controlled airstrip, effectively grounding the rebels' tiny air force in a new setback to an insurgency already on the brink of defeat. The takeover of the seventh rebel airstrip came a day before Wednesday's celebration of the country's 61st Independence Day, which the government had hoped to mark with a total annihilation of the insurgents. More than 70,000 people have been killed since the Tigers began fighting for a separate homeland because of complaints that minority Tamils are discriminated against by the majority Sinhalese. In recent months, troops have routed the Tamil Tigers from much of the de facto state they controlled in the north where most of Sri Lanka's Tamils live.

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