Sri Lanka says 32 killed in fresh fighting

July 13, 2008 (AFP) – At least 30 Tamil Tiger rebels and two government soldiers were killed in fresh fighting in the island’s embattled north, the defence ministry said Sunday. The separatist guerrillas were killed in the Wanni region and the adjoining Jaffna peninsula on Saturday, the ministry said.

It said 26 rebels were also wounded in the clashes that killed two government soldiers and wounded seven more.

The air force was called in to bomb suspected Tiger positions in the Wanni, the ministry said.

For their part, the Tigers said the aerial attack destroyed livestock and wounded a 20-year-old woman. There was no immediate word from the Tigers about ground clashes.

The latest figure given by the ministry raises the number of rebels killed by government forces to 4,907 since January, while 437 soldiers have died in the same period. Casualty figures on both sides cannot be independently verified as the defence ministry bars journalists from travelling to the frontlines. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in fighting since 1972.