Clashes kill 19 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Nov 10, 2007 (AFP) – At least 19 people were killed and 24 injured during fighting between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the island’s north, the defence ministry said Saturday. Tens of thousands of people have died since the ethnic conflict began in 1972. Eighteen rebels were killed and 24 wounded in clashes across the northern district, while one soldier died in a 24-hour period ending Saturday morning, the ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which has been fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils in the majority Sinhalese nation.

Independent verification of casualties is not possible since journalists are not allowed to travel to rebel-held areas in the north.

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