Sri Lanka: 19 rebels killed in fighting
Sat Jul 19, 4:10 AM ET
Sri Lankan government forces killed 19 Tamil Tiger rebels in fresh fighting along the front lines of the island nation’s civil war, the military said Saturday.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said Friday’s worst fighting took place in northern Vavuniya district, where nine rebels were killed.
Seven insurgents were killed along the Welioya front, while three more were killed in Jaffna, he said.
No government soldiers were killed in the fighting but a few were wounded, Nanayakkara said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be immediately reached for comment, and it was not possible to verify the military’s claims because journalists are banned from the war zone.
Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country’s ethnic minority Tamils, who have faced marginalization by successive governments controlled by majority ethnic Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.