Shelling kills eight civilians in Sri Lanka

March 30, 2007 (AFP) – At least eight civilians were killed and several others wounded in eastern Sri Lanka Friday as government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels exchanged artillery and mortar fire, officials said.

Four men and four women were killed when they were hit by shells, a military official in Batticaloa, 303 kilometres (189 miles) east of here said by telephone.

The defence ministry said the civilians were killed as a result of firing by Tamil Tiger rebels into populated areas of the Batticaloa district. There was no immediate comment from the Tigers.

There has been heavy fighting between the two sides in the coastal Batticaloa region where the military captured a Tiger base on Wednesday.

The Tiger rebels are leading a drawn out campaign for independence. More than 4,000 people have been killed in the latest wave of fighting since December 2005 despite a truce arranged by peace broker Norway in 2002. .

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