Sri Lanka says 19 rebels 1 soldier killed in northern clashes; rebels say 11 soldiers killed
Sat March 1, 2008 01:10 EST .
KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A series of battles left 19 Tamil rebels and one government soldier dead in war-torn northern Sri Lanka - , the military said Saturday.
The Tamil Tigers, meanwhile, said they killed 11 government troops in a clash and managed to retake a guard post earlier lost.
Soldiers pushed into rebel territory Friday in Muhamalai area of northern Jaffna peninsula and destroyed five rebel bunkers, killing seven guerrillas, a military official said.
Separate fighting in Vavuniya, Mannar, and Welioya districts killed 12 more rebels, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. One soldier was caught in a booby trap and killed in Mannar, he said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be immediately reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site reported the guerrillas recaptured a position minutes after it was taken over by the military. Eleven soldiers were killed in the battle, the report said.
It was not possible to verify the details independently because the conflict zone is restricted to journalists.
The two sides often give conflicting casualty figures after battles, exaggerating the damage caused to the enemy and underplaying their own losses.
Tamil Tiger rebels have fought the since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils after decades of discrimination by governments controlled by majority Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
On the Web:
TamilNet Web site: http://www.tamilnet.com
Published: Sat Mar 1 09:21:06 EST 2008