Sri Lanka troops kill 12 more rebels: military

March 12, 2009 (AFP) – Security forces captured more territory in northeastern Sri Lanka after heavy fighting that killed at least 12 rebels, the military said Thursday. Troops took control of the abandoned Puthukkudiriruppu hospital following Wednesday’s clashes, a military official said.

“At least a dozen LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorists were killed and 24 injured,” he said adding that an unspecified number of government soldiers were also wounded.

There was no immediate comment from the Tigers, but the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said army shelling had caused many casualties in a “safe zone” demarcated for civilians.

Tamilnet said 133 civilians, including 49 children, were killed in shelling Tuesday, a claim rejected by the government.

Sri Lankan military leaders say they have restricted the Tamil Tigers to an area of just 35 square kilometres (13 square miles) after months of fighting.

Colombo withdrew from a Norwegian-brokered truce at the beginning of last year after accusing the Tigers of using the ceasefire only to re-arm.

Sri Lanka authorities have rejected calls for another truce, saying troops now have the