Sri Lanka says 25 Tigers killed in clashes

Dec 28, 2007 (AFP) – At least 25 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in fresh military attacks along the de-facto border of territory held by the guerrillas, the defence ministry said Friday. The members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in four separate attacks in Vavuniya district on Thursday, the ministry said, adding that one soldier also died.

However, the LTTE rejected the claims, saying they did not suffer any deaths and that they had thwarted military attempts to break into their territory.

The Tigers said in a statement that they also killed one government soldier in Thursday’s battles.

The latest casualty claims by the military bring the number of Tamil fighters killed since December 1 to at least 501, according to the defence ministry. This compares with less than 30 troops reported dead or missing by the military.

Both sides regularly make sharply differing claims about casualties and independent verification is rarely possible. Journalists are also not allowed access into rebel held areas in the north. Sri Lanka is pressing for a military victory over the rebels, fighting for a separate state for the ethnic Tamil minority in the Sinhale