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Sri Lankan Air Force Kills Eight Tamil Rebels in Bombing Attack


Sri Lankan rebels say government air force jets have carried out deadly bombing raids against Tamil Tiger positions for a fourth day in a battle over water supplies.

A pro-rebel Web site said the Tamil rebels have reported eight dead and four wounded in the bombing Saturday.

The military accuses rebels of blocking a sluice gate to choke water supplies to Sinhalese farmers on government land.

On Friday, military officials said the rebels fired mortars near the site of the disputed reservoir. Witnesses say the military responded with mortar fire. No injuries were reported from either side.

Government air strikes Thursday near the reservoir and elsewhere killed six rebels.

Finland and Denmark said Friday they have decided to recall their cease-fire monitors from Sri Lanka because of safety concerns.

Tamil Tiger rebels have ordered all European Union observers to leave before September first, after the EU added the Tigers to its list of terror groups. Sweden, the head of the monitoring mission, has yet to say whether its staff will leave as well.

A Norwegian Embassy spokesman in Colombo said Wednesday that special envoy Jon Hannsen-Bauer will visit Sri Lanka early next month to try to revive a crippled peace process between the rebels and the government.

The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland since 1983. The violence has killed about 65,000 people. Escalating tensions are threatening to plunge the country back into civil war.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and AP.

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