Heavy fighting grips Sri Lanka’s northeast

May 6, 2007 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces were locked in combat in Sri Lanka’s northeast Sunday with both sides claiming heavy losses against each other.

A landmine detonated by Tamil Tigers killed three police commandos in eastern Sri Lanka on Sunday, the defence ministry said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attack blew up a police Special Task Force vehicle in Batticaloa district killing three officers and wounding three more, the ministry said in a statement.

Security forces shot five rebels in the north of the island early Sunday while two more were killed in Batticaloa, the statement said.

It said the guerrillas fired mortars across their front line in Vavuniya, in the north of the island Sunday, injuring several soldiers.

The LTTE said it had beaten back a military attempt to advance into the rebel-held part of Vavuniya and had killed at least five government troopers for the loss of three of their own combatants.

“We have beaten back an advance by government forces and we captured the bodies of five soldiers,” LTTE spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said by telephone from the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi.

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