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Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's Jaffna Peninsula

January 16, 2001
Web posted at: 6:17 PM HKT (1017 GMT)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Government troops, who seized control of almost all of the Jaffna Peninsula two weeks ago, launched a major offensive Tuesday to enter the mainland.

Strong rebel resistance has led to bitter fighting in a village on the thin strip of land linking the peninsula to the mainland, in contrast to the last troop offensive in which rebels withdrew without confrontation.

Military officials in Colombo, the capital, reported heavy fighting on both sides. They said troops had gained control of more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of a main highway.

Though casualty figures were still unknown, some sources said artillery shells had hit a civilian neighborhood, killing at least one resident and injuring an unknown number of others.

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