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Sri Lankan Security Forces Search for Rebels in Capital, Colombo


Security officers in Sri Lanka spent Saturday checking the identities of more than 900 people who were taken into custody during door-to-door searches for Tamil rebels in the capital, Colombo.

The crackdown was a joint operation involving 4,400 police officers and soldiers. The pre-dawn searches were done in areas of the city where minority Tamils are concentrated.

Sri Lanka's deputy inspector-general, Pujith Jayasundara, says most of the people detained were unable to immediately produce national identity cards. After questioning, most of the detainees were released.

The development comes as European monitors of Sri Lanka's 2002 truce urge the government and Tamil rebels to resume peace talks.

The two sides cannot even agree where to hold talks. The government wants to meet in an Asian country, while the rebels prefer Norway.

Violence has been rising in the past month since the election of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, who ran on a platform of taking a hard-line approach to the Tamil Tigers.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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