Sri Lankan troops kill six Tigers in fresh clashes

COLOMBO, April 4, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops have shot dead six Tamil Tiger rebels in clashes in the island’s embattled northern and eastern regions, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in the latest upsurge of fighting that began in December 2005 despite a truce arranged in 2002. Four members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were shot dead in two separate incidents in the Jaffna peninsula on Tuesday, the ministry said.

It said two more Tiger gunmen were shot dead in the eastern district of Ampara, the scene of a bus bombing on Monday that left 16 people dead.

There were no reports of casualties among troops, and there was no immediate reaction from the guerrillas to the military claims.

The Tigers did say that the Sri Lankan air force carried out aerial attacks inside rebel-held territory Tuesday, wounding four civilians.

The Tamil rebels have waged a 35-year campaign for independence that has claimed more than 60,000 lives.