COLOMBO,Jan.18, Reuter: Six Tamil separatist guerrillas were killed in a fierce eight hour battle between troops and the most powerful rebel group in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna district, the government said today.

It said a military officer and 11 rebels, including their local leader, called Indiran master, were wounded in the fighting yesterday at Elephant Pass,

The government said the battue was triggered when rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) opened fire at an air force helicopter that was landing at a military camp at Elephant Pass.

Elephant Pass is a narrow step of land linking the rebel stronghold of Jaffna with the mainland. Troops from the base have set up road blocks at Elephant Pass to check all traffic between the Jaffna Peninsula and the mainland.

LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, reported to have stealthily crossed over to Sri Lanka from his headquarters in Madras, South India, two weeks ago, was in the area at the time of the battle, the government statement said.

It said that while the helicopter took evasive action and landed at the base, troops stormed the rebel hideout from which the aircraft was attacked.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 23, 1987