Seven soldiers, 25 rebels killed in northern Sri Lanka

June 18th, 2008 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 18 (DPA) Seven government soldiers and 25 Tamil rebels were killed in clashes and mortar attacks in northern Sri Lanka, a military spokesman said Wednesday. The fighting Tuesday and Wednesday occurred in the Mannar district in northwestern Sri Lanka, in Vavuniya and Jaffna in the north and in Welioya in the northeast, the spokesman said. All the areas are located in the Northern province, about 250 km north of Colombo.

Fighting continues in the northern part of the country, where government troops have stepped up their operations after the military vowed to recapture the areas held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels before the end of the year.

More than 5,000 rebels, security forces and civilians have been killed since December 2005 in what has been described as the fourth phase of the 25-year-old conflict. Four attempts for talks have failed.

The latest effort was made by Norway, which brokered a ceasefire in February 2002, but after both sides continued fighting, the government pulled out of the truce in January this year.

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