Sri Lanka says scores of rebels, soldiers killed in latest fighting

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 10, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka said Sunday that its troops had killed scores of Tamil Tiger rebels in fierce weekend fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula that also left 28 soldiers dead. Mortar and artillery duels along a de facto frontline on the contested peninsula killed the 28 and left 125 wounded, a defence ministry spokesman said.

The rebels suffered 115 dead and “many more wounded,” he said.

Earlier, a ministry spokesman claimed that troops has killed 150 Tiger guerrillas during the long-range battles at the weekend.

Both sides are known to exaggerate the other’s casualties in the absence of independent verification.

There was no immediate word from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) but the pro-rebel website said there had been no rebel casualties except for four killed on Friday.

The government launched an offensive at the weekend including intense air attacks and shelling of Tamil Tiger positions south of the army’s defence lines, military officials said.

The defence ministry spokesman said soldiers were consolidating an area they wrested from rebel control in Jaffna amid sporadic fighting on Sunday.

“Troops are digging in at th