The Sri Lankan government said Sunday that more than 10,000 civilians have fled fighting between government forces and Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka over the past week, a "sudden increase" in people displaced by the violence.
Efforts by government troops to secure control of a main highway that links mainland Sri Lanka to the northern Jaffna peninsula came a step closer Thursday when they re-captured Pallai, a palm-fringed village under rebel control.
The Tamil Tigers have been invited by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to lay down their arms after government forces retook the city of Kilinochchi Friday, once the center of power for the rebel group.
More than 100 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and another 400 wounded Wednesday when troops attempted to advance toward a stronghold of the Tamil Tigers rebel organization, highly placed army sources told CNN.
A key political leader of the Sri Lankan rebel group, the Tamil Tigers, was killed Friday along with five other rebel officers during an air strike in the country's embattled north, the guerrillas said in a statement on a Tamil-affiliated Web site.
The Tamil Tiger rebel group has claimed responsibility for the Saturday bombing of two fuel installations that prompted heavy security, a two-hour blackout in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, and disrupted activity at its airport.
Tamil Tiger rebels used two light aircraft to bomb and strafe an air force base next to Colombo International Airport, killing two airmen and wounding 10 others, a spokesman for the group's political wing told CNN.