Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka leaves scores killed and wounded

Nov 7, 2007 (AFP) – Heavy fighting between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels Wednesday left a large number killed or wounded, both sides said. The government and rebels had agreed to a Norwegian-brokered truce in 2002, but the peace process began to unravel in December 2005. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they had resisted a Sri Lankan military advance backed by helicopter gunships into their territory on Wednesday, losing one of their cadres in the attack.

But Sri Lanka’s defence ministry said that 52 Tigers were killed together with 11 government soldiers. The ministry said another 40 government soldiers were wounded.

The losses came as the LTTE defended its forward positions in the Muhamalai area of the peninsula, the northern part of which is held by government troops. “Scores” of Tigers were also wounded, the ministry said.

However, the LTTE in a statement said they killed 20 government soldiers and wounded another 100 in around two hours of fighting.
The two sides’ claims could not be independently verified.

Residents near an air base here said they saw ambulances rushing out, indicating that military