Myanmar junta fighter jets have attacked Kawkareik in Karen State, killing at least two residents and injuring 16 others, including six children, according to the White Tiger Battalion.
Fierce fighting broke out between junta forces and resistance groups in Kawkareik Township on Friday morning. With troops on the ground losing control and suffering casualties, the junta conducted indiscriminate aerial bombing and artillery shelling.
A Kawkakeik man and woman were killed by bombs launched by the fighter jets from the Hmawbi air force base. The group said it expected the death toll to rise.
Pyar Pin, Kaung Hmu, Tada U, Kha Nain Munand Yan Kote villages in the township have all been hit.
The White Tiger Battalion, one of the armed groups fighting with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) against the junta in Kawkareik, said two fighters had been dropping bombs for hours.
“We expected it and prepared before we attacked this week,” the group announced.
Combined Karen revolutionary forces surrounded the military’s Infantry Battalion 97 stationed in the center of Karen State’s Kawkareik Township after launching simultaneous attacks. The junta sent two jet fighters and two helicopters were deployed after ground forces had lost heavily to the KNLA and its allies.
The resistance groups said on Friday they had surrounded Infantry Battalion 97 stationed in the center of the town and reportedly opened its prison.
Amid fierce fighting in Kawkareik, junta troops and Border Guard Forces in Myawaddy have been preparing for attacks, closing schools and regime offices early on Friday, according to residents.
The Lion Battalion Commando Special Force, another KNLA ally, stated that the attack is the start of a new form of urban warfare.