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Sri Lankan Military Claims Air Raid Destroyed Rebel Base

Sri Lanka's military says air force jets have bombed and destroyed a Tamil Tiger rebel hideout in the country's north.

Defense officials say Thursday's attack took place near the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi.

Officials say the hideout was completely destroyed.

However, the Tamil Tiger Web site TamilNet says the bombs hit a civilian area, destroying homes and nearly hitting a packed school.

The attack comes just a day after 27 people were killed when a bomb tore through a packed passenger bus in a remote town in the southeastern part of the country. The military says most of the dead were killed when gunmen shot at panicked passengers as they fled the bombing. The government blames rebels for the attack.

In a statement, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized that the Tigers' goal of separation is unacceptable.

The violence coincides with the official end of a repeatedly violated cease-fire agreement between the government and the Tamil Tigers.

The government formally pulled out of an agreement two weeks ago, saying rebels had used the pact to regroup and rearm.

Fighting has escalated over the past year -- as the government pushed rebels out of territory in the east. The military is now focusing on the rebel-held north.

Tamil rebels have been fighting for more than two decades to create a homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils in the country's northern and eastern districts.

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