Sri Lanka fighting kills nine: military

November 12, 2008 (AFP) – At least nine Tamil Tiger rebels were killed as Sri Lankan troops fought pitched battles in the island’s north, the defence ministry said Wednesday. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) endured a “heavy beating” as troops advanced towards Kilinochchi, the rebels’ political capital, the ministry said.

It said the bodies of nine rebels were found after separate clashes.

The ministry said government soldiers suffered only minor damage during the ongoing offensive, mostly due to anti-personal mines and small arms fire.

It did not give casualty figures.

The LTTE did not comment on Tuesday’s fighting.

“According to the military, identified LTTE locations were pounded with continuous artillery and mortar attacks followed by a swift military incursion,” the ministry said.

Fighting has escalated since Sri Lanka pulled out of a Norwegian-backed truce in January.

The rebels are battling for a homeland for minority Tamils in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1972.