Seven people killed in Sri Lanka clashes

July 3, 2007 (AFP) – Four suspected Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers were killed in fresh violence in Sri Lanka’s embattled north, military officials said Tuesday. There was no immediate comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have been locked in combat with the government since 1972 in a conflict that has claimed mjore than 60,000 lives.

Tamil Tiger guerrillas set off a powerful roadside blast in the district of Vavuniya Tuesday, killing the three soldiers, military officials said.

The attack came hours after security forces confronted a group of rebels further north in the Jaffna peninsula along a de facto front line at Muhamalai and killed four of them, a military official said.

The clashes were the latest in a series of attacks that have claimed more than 5,000 lives since fighting in the tropical island’s ethnic conflict escalated in December 2005.

Government troops are on high alert as the rebels prepare to mark the 20th anniversary Thursday of their first suicide attack.

In a separate incident, suspected Tiger rebels shot and wounded a policeman in the Jaffna town early Tuesday as he travelled to work, the ministry said