Sri Lanka says another 46 killed in fresh fighting

June 28, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan security forces killed at least 44 Tamil Tiger rebels for the loss of two of their own soldiers in fresh ground battles in the island’s embattled north, the defence ministry said Saturday.

The rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in separate clashes on Friday in the northern district of Vavuniya and Mannar, the ministry said, adding that at least 30 rebels were also wounded.

The ministry said 25 bodies of Tiger fighters killed in previous fighting was returned to the rebels on Friday through the Red Cross.

“Advancing army battle formations have inflicted decisive blows on the LTTE during multi-pronged attacks,” the ministry said.

There was no immediate word from the Tigers on the latest fighting. The defence ministry claims raise the number of rebels reported killed by government troops since the beginning of the year to 4,545, against the loss of 416 soldiers.