Sri Lanka steps up search after 28 killed in fresh violence

COLOMBO, Sept 16, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops stepped up search operations for Tamil rebels in the embattled north and east after 28 people were killed in a new wave of fighting at the weekend, officials said Sunday. More than 5,400 people have been killed in fighting in the past 21 months following the breakdown of a Norwegian-brokered truce. Troops recovered three “suicide jackets,” three automatic assault rifles and a Claymore mine during a search in the Jaffna peninsula where at least 10 Tiger rebels were killed on Friday, the defence ministry said.

It said two soldiers were also killed in a roadside bomb set off by suspected Tamil Tiger in Jaffna on Friday night.

Another 14 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed Friday in two confrontations in the district of Vavuniya near rebel-controlled territory, the ministry said.

It said another Tiger and a police commando were killed in the east of the island on Saturday.