Three Sri Lankan soldiers killed in rebel attack

February 20th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by admin  

Colombo, Feb 20 (DPA) Three soldiers were killed by suspected Tamil rebels in south-eastern Sri Lanka Wednesday as fighting between government troops and rebels continued in the northern part of the country, military officials said. The three soldiers were manning a guard point in Dambakote, 280 km southeast of the capital, Wednesday morning when they came under attack by rebels, military officials said.

The area has been under threat from the rebels since they set off a claymore mine against a passenger bus in the same area, killing 27 passengers Jan 16, and followed it up with sporadic attacks, killing more than 15 civilians and four policemen and soldiers.

The rebels have been carrying out attacks in the area as security forces stepped up military operations against the rebels in the northern part of the country after vowing to crush them before the end of the year.

The military claimed that in a fresh round of operations Wednesday, troops successfully countered a rebel attack on the newly established defence lines in the Parappakandal area of Mannar, 320 km north of the capital.

A statement from the military said the rebels had suffered heavy casualties and scores were believed killed, but no details of the casualties were available.

A separate military operation has been launched in Adampan, Mannar, where at least 23 rebels were killed and 10 others were injured Tuesday, the military said.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Mannar area, where government troops have been trying to push into the rebel-held areas and the rebels have been putting up stiff resistance.

There has been no independent confirmation about the casualties from both sides.

During the past two years of fighting more than 5,800 have been killed in the north and eastern provinces. The government withdrew from a ceasefire agreement with the rebels on Jan 16, claiming the Norwegian backed truce was ineffective.

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