Sri Lanka military claims 20 Tiger rebels killed

Feb 17, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan forces killed at least 20 Tamil Tiger guerrillas in clashes in the north of the island at the weekend, defence officials said Sunday. Government forces backed by war planes attacked Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) along the front lines in the north on Saturday, an official said.

He said the air force had made attacks at targets inside rebel-held territory over the weekend, but details of casualties were not immediately known.

There was no immediate comment from the Tigers who are leading a drawn out campaign for independence.

The latest defence ministry figures show that at least 1,268 rebels have been killed by security forces this year. The military has placed its own losses during the same period at 70 soldiers and police killed.

Both sides are known to offer wildly different casualty claims that cannot be independently verified as journalists and human rights workers are barred from frontline and rebel-held areas. .