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Sea Tiger leader may have been at a bombed location
More civilians flee fast shrinking LTTE-held areas

Civilians are fleeing LTTE-held areas by the thousands with 5,000 refugees received behind government lines on Friday and another 5,000 yesterday, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman said.

According to the Defence Ministry Kfir and F-7 fighter jets had pounded the hideout of LTTE leader Soosai one kilometer north east of Puthukudduiruppu junction in a strike where 11 LTTE cadres were killed.

Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said that there was information that Soosai was at the targeted location at the time of the air strike but it was impossible to confirm whether Soosai was killed or wounded in the attack.

The Air Force took on a bunker complex where Soosai is believed to have lived and reports that a backhoe was digging the bomb site raised suspicions that a senior leader had been there.

"That implies there was a leader. Otherwise they wouldn’t dig that place like that," Reuter’s news agency quoted the Air Force spokesman saying.

The military denied claims over TamilNet that 1,000 soldiers have been killed since February 1 when Tiger commandos had seized an army weapons dump.

Thousands of civilians are being held prisoner within the fast shrinking LTTE-held areas. The military spokesman said they were more than willing to accept wounded civilians in government facilities.

He was responding to a Red Cross report which said that about 400 people accommodated at a makeshift hospital at Puttumatalan village, needed to be urgently moved to better hospitals in government controlled territory.

Most of these patients were lying on the floor in an overcrowded community centre and school buildings converted to makeshift wards awaiting evacuation.

Brigadier Nanayakkara said that the government is very willing to help the patients to cross safely to government territory.

"We are very willing to take them provided the LTTE releases them," he said. "We have done that before."

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