Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka ahead of Japanese peace move

June 3, 2007 (AFP) – The Tamil Tiger rebels said Sunday they had killed at least 10 Sri Lankan army troops in attacks on military defences and materiel, as Japan readied a fresh bid to quell the spiralling violence. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they had launched a “commando style” attack against military defences in the northern district of Vavuniya on Saturday night, destroying artillery posts and ammunition dumps.

“The Tigers have destroyed a Sri Lanka army artillery launch pad, seized military hardware, including … armoured personnel carriers,” rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said.

Another 35 army troops were wounded by the offensive, the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website reported.

The Sri Lankan defence ministry said three soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded, raising an earlier tally of one killed and seven wounded.

Neither side’s casualty claims could be independently verified and both are believed to inflate the figures.

Ilanthiriyan said that the guerrillas had established a forward defence line near areas previously held by the military following the attack, Tamilnet.com reported.

Sporadic artillery exchanges continued in Vavuniya district, w