Over 200 slain in Sri Lanka’s bloodiest battle in 18 months

April 24, 2008 (AFP) – Tamil rebels killed at least 100 Sri Lankan soldiers in the nation’s bloodiest battle in 18 months on Wednesday, the separatists said, as the military claimed more than 100 rebels died in the fighting.

Updated

The Tamil Tigers claimed they killed more than 100 government troops and had recovered 30 of the bodies, which will be returned to the families. The rebels said they lost 16 of their fighters.

The defence ministry said its forces killed more than 100 Tigers and said it had lost 43 soldiers, with another 33 missing in action, following pre-dawn fighting in the northern peninsula of Jaffna.

“The Sri Lanka army suffered more than 100 killed in action and about 500 wounded in action,” the LTTE said. “Sixteen valiant LTTE soldiers sacrificed their lives in this confrontation.”

The military suffered its heaviest loss in a single offensive since October 2006.

“Forty-three soldiers made their supreme sacrifice while another 120 soldiers suffered injuries,” the defence ministry said, adding that “over 100 LTTE cadres have been killed and a large number had suffered injuries.”
There was no independent verification of the conflicting tolls.

But a Sri Lankan militar