Sri Lanka the Tamil Tigers' Threat

Separatist guerrillas and the army gird for a showdown battle

The buildup began in February. In the dead of night, 200 men in camouflage uniforms, each carrying a new AK-47 rifle and two grenades, left their secret training camps in India and gathered by the edge of the sea. At a quiet command, they slipped into plastic, wide-bottomed boats and set off, guided by fishermen who steered by the stars. In less than two hours, the fighters had crossed 26 miles of the Palk Strait and were wading ashore, ready to wage war in Sri Lanka.

Virtually every night since then, small groups of guerrillas have stolen across the waters to...

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