3RD LEAD (Added details)
Attacks escalate in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 December 2005, 08:42 GMT]
Unidentified gunmen and Sri Lanka Army soldiers exchanged gunfire for more than five minutes near Ainthusanthi, a junction in the outer suburb of Jaffna town around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Four civilians, severely beaten up by the soldiers, were rushed to Jaffna Hospital. A policeman was wounded at Kantharmadam junction, 300 meters away from the University of Jaffna, around 1:00 p.m., when unidentified attackers launched an attack on the troopers, Police said. An SLA vehicle narrowly escaped from a claymore attack at Nelliyadi in Vadamardhci around 5:30 a.m. Thursday. Grenade attacks were reported in Ariyalai, Kopay, and near Nachimar Temple in Jaffna. Tension prevails in Jaffna.
The SLA soldiers cordoned off the area between Thattatheru, Manohara Theatre junctions and the Ainthusanthi Junctions and blocked all traffic at the site following the ambush where a bus transporting soldiers was targeted by the gunmen who opened fire after charging a grenade at the site, sources said.
The persons beaten up by the soldiers, Thevaratnam Maheswaran, 31,
Francis Xavier Anustan, 28, I. Nishanthan, 28, and K. Theivendram, 39, were civilian travellers on the KKS Road, sources added.
Another grenade attack was reported in Kopay near District Secretariat building at 4:00 p.m.
A civilian traveller, Rooban Jeyanthan, 26, was rushed to Jaffna Hospital after being beaten up by the soldiers in Kopay.
Earlier, on Wednesday night, four policemen were wounded when unidentified attackers lobbed grenades at the Police station in Kopay, according to the Police.
The policeman wounded at Kantharmadam junction, Mr. Kulathunga Banda, was being treated at Palaly Military Hospital, SLA sources said.
Soldiers of the SLA and Policemen in large number rushed to the site in Kantharmadam and Arasady junctions following the attack and launched a cordon and search operation closing the roads for public and vehicular use, civilian sources said.
Civilian travellers were also beaten up by the soldiers near Kantharmadam and Ainthusanthi junctions Thursday afternoon, the sources added.
Sri Lanka Army has intensified its street patrols in Jaffna following the escalation of attacks on Sri Lanka Army.