Sri Lanka says 12 killed in battle for bunkers
At least 10 Tamil Tiger rebels and two government soldiers have been killed in intense fighting for the control of a bunker line in northern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said Tuesday.
Security forces launched a multi-pronged offensive against positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and captured several bunkers on Monday evening, the ministry said.
"Ground troops have claimed that 10 terrorists were killed and an equal number injured," the ministry said. "Also, two soldiers were killed and nine sustained injuries in the clashes."
The heavy fighting in the area followed attacks on Saturday when -- according to the defence ministry -- 49 Tiger rebels and two soldiers were killed.
Government forces backed by war planes and artillery have been pounding the LTTE for weeks, but appear to have made little progress in their effort to advance into rebel-held territory.
There was no immediate comment from the Tigers, whose fight for independence has left tens of thousands dead over three decades.
According to defence ministry figures, at least 1,307 rebels have been killed by security forces so far this year. The military has put its own losses during the same period at 74 soldiers and police killed.
Casualty figures provided by both sides differ wildly and cannot be independently verified. Journalists and human rights workers are barred from frontline and rebel-held areas. (AFP)
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