12 rebels, three soldiers killed in Sri Lanka clashes (Lead)

May 20th, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, May 20 (IANS) At least 12 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers were killed, and scores wounded as fierce gun battles and artillery duels between the two sides continued to rage in the northern Wanni battlefront, military sources said here Tuesday. “The troops deployed ahead of the recently liberated Palampiddi area in Vavuniya have totally neutralised an LTTE attempt to open-up the military defences in a heavy gun attack mounted from non-liberated areas on Monday,” the defence ministry claimed.

It said that the LTTE soldiers “were forced to withdraw with soaring casualties” due to the “sustained heavy retaliation” by security forces.

“At least a dozen terrorists were killed and 21 injured during the counter terrorist operations….Three soldiers have also laid down their lives in addition to eight wounded,” the defence ministry report said.

In a separate incident Tuesday morning, three police constables were wounded when an alleged LTTE operative lobbed a hand grenade at a police post located along the Medawachchiya-Mannar main road in Manik Farm area at Chettikulam in Vavuniya.

On Sunday, over 70 combatants were killed and scores wounded when government troops manning the forward defence in the northwestern Mannar district repulsed attacks by the LTTE guerrillas.

Meanwhile, a home guard was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while on duty at the 38th mile post along the Buttala-Katharagama main highway in the Southern Moneragala district Monday night.

Police and security personnel are conducting an extensive search in the area.

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