Sri Lanka says fresh fighting kills 33

 

Sri Lankan troops killed 32 Tamil Tiger rebels in a series of clashes in the island's north, the military said on Wednesday.

One soldier was also killed and three others wounded in eight confrontations on Tuesday, said a military spokesman who asked not to be identified in line with government policy.

The military said they had also captured a rebel held area and destroyed Tamil Tiger bunkers along a 'border' that separates rebel-held from government territory in the northwestern district of Mannar.

The military has moved to capture areas in Mannar as part of a wider strategy to gradually retake the Tigers' northern stronghold.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who want to create an independent state in north and east Sri Lanka, were not immediately available for comment on the latest fighting.

Pro rebel website www.tamilnet.com said 60 soldiers had been killed in heavy fighting on Sunday and Monday in Mannar.

The military denied the rebel claim.

The government and rebels trade death toll claims that are rarely possible to independently verify.

An estimated 70,000 people have died since the civil war began in 1983. 
(Reuters)

 

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