Sri Lanka says rebels killed in fresh clashes

COLOMBO, Oct 20, 2007 (AFP) – More than a dozen suspected Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in fresh fighting in the island’s embattled north, the defence ministry said Saturday. The military fired at a group of Tamil Tiger rebels who tried to break through the northern defence lines in Mannar on Saturday, killing eight, it said.

“Intercepted radio communication has confirmed that eight LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorists were killed and many injured due to the artillery fire,” the statement said.

Elsewhere, four soldiers were injured when the rebels launched artillery fire at troops in the northern district of Vavuniya on Saturday.

Security forces retaliated, killing eight rebels, the military said.

Security forces also destroyed three LTTE bunkers along the forward defence lines in Jaffna on Saturday morning, killing one rebel and “wounding many others,” the ministry said.

Scores of combatants have died on both sides since the LTTE launched a separatist campaign for autonomy in the island’s north and east in 1972.