Sri Lanka says eight rebels killed in fresh violence

COLOMBO, May 14, 2007 (AFP) – Eight Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed in fresh clashes in Sri Lanka’s embattled northern and eastern regions, the defence ministry said Monday. Security forces killed seven rebels in the northern district of Vavuniya late Sunday in a gunbattle along their defence lines, the ministry said.

In a separate confrontation elsewhere on the island, soldiers on foot patrol shot dead one rebel as he tried to lob a hand grenade, the ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils since 1972. More than 4,800 people have been killed in the latest upsurge of fighting that began in December 2005.