Sri Lanka troops kill 13 rebels: military

COLOMBO, March 23, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops shot dead at least 13 Tamil Tiger rebels who tried to attack military positions in the island’s north, the defence ministry said Friday.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in a new wave of fighting in Sri Lanka since December 2005. The violence comes despite a truce in place since February 2002. Security forces opened fire late Thursday on suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Omanthai on the de facto border with rebel-held territory, killing 11 of them, the ministry said in a statement.

It said another two rebels were shot dead further north at Nagarkovil in the Jaffna peninsula on the same day. There were no reports of troop casualties.

The violence came as troops carried out clearing operations in the east of the island after simultaneous Tamil Tiger attacks left at least 20 people dead and dozens more wounded on Wednesday, officials said.

There was no immediate word on the fighting from the LTTE, which has been waging a separatist war since 1972, about the latest military claims.

Official figures show that nearly 150,000 people were listed as internally displaced in the ea