Sri Lanka troops, rebels keep up attacks as peace bid stalls

Oct 7, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels kept up attacks against each other for a second day Saturday, as the rebels said the new fighting represented a serious blow to peace efforts. Air attacks against the rebels continued amid exchanges of fire in the eastern district of Batticaloa where heavy fighting erupted Friday, military officials said.

The military, which claimed to have recovered 22 bodies of Tiger guerrillas on Friday, revised down the number to 12, but said security forces had seen more behind rebel lines.

“Twelve bodies of Tiger terrorists shot down when they attempted to infiltrate the forward defence lines were handed over to the Valachchenai hospital,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

“Troops have observed 40 to 45 bodies of Tiger terrorists laying ahead (of) the defence lines,” it added.

The statement said two soldiers were killed and eight wounded.

But hospital officials said about 50 combatants wounded on Friday were brought in for treatment.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said only five of their fighters were killed.

The Tigers said they had recovered the bodies of 13 government soldiers and that another sold