Sri Lanka troops, rebels trade fire

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 11, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tigers traded artillery fire across the island’s northeast Monday, a day after the guerrillas accused the government of sabotaging a new peace effort. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) hit an army camp in the east of the island using long-range mortar fire, and troops retaliated using artillery, official sources said.

They said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Similar attacks continued across a de facto frontline in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, killing at least 33 soldiers at the weekend, the army said in a statement updating an earlier toll.

It said another 130 troops were wounded while advancing into territory held by the Tigers. The army statement claimed that security forces killed at least 130 rebels.

There was no immediate word from the Tigers about the casualties while the pro-rebel claimed that the military suffered heavy losses.

Neither of the claims could be independently verified.

The latest fighting in the bitter three-decade-old ethnic conflict came after the LTTE said it had been prepared to withdraw from a strategic coastal town that was the scene of weeks of deadly