Sri Lanka fighting causes ‘heavy casualties’ in north

Feb 20, 2008 (AFP) – Heavy fighting erupted in northern Sri Lanka Wednesday with troops and Tamil Tiger rebels trading artillery fire that left scores of combatants dead or wounded, the island’s defence ministry said. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched a major attack against military positions in the district of Mannar and troops retaliated, the ministry said in a statement.

“The LTTE has suffered heavy casualties, with scores believed killed,” the ministry said, adding that security forces suffered four soldiers wounded.

There was no immediate word from the rebels.

The defence ministry said the Tiger rebels had brought down artillery on the military, but security forces managed to neutralise the rebel fire.

Government forces were on the offensive to capture a village known as Adampan from the Tigers, the ministry said.

It said 28 Tiger rebels and three government soldiers had been killed in intense fighting on Monday.

According to latest defence ministry figures, at least 1,335 rebels have been killed by security forces so far this year. The military has put its own losses during the same period at 77 soldiers and police killed.

Casualty figures provided by