At least 152 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in northeastern Sri Lanka as security forces established full control over a Muslim coastal town, the defence ministry said on Saturday.
Troops using artillery and air attacks inflicted the losses on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Friday afternoon in and around the town of Mutur in Trincomalee district, a ministry spokesman said.
"We have an estimated 152 Tigers killed and 124 injured, mainly in the air attacks carried at their key base of Foul Point," spokesman Upali Rajapakse said. "We suffered only a few sailors wounded in Friday's attacks."
The defence ministry said the attack was the last confrontation with the guerrillas in the clashes which erupted on Wednesday with a heavy artillery attack on the Muslim town by Tiger rebels.
"Naval troops who were vigilant and expecting the failing attempt of Tamil Tigers managed to identify the wave of assault from all corners, annihilated all of them," the ministry said in a statement.
There was no immediate LTTE reaction to the military claims of casualties, but the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website reported the air force bombed and destroyed a ferry inside rebel territory on Friday evening.
Tamilnet gave no details.
The LTTE's main office coordinating the Norwegian-backed peace process said Sri Lanka's army was shelling indiscriminately, causing heavy civilian casualties.
"The Sri Lanka army's indiscriminate artillery shelling that has continued since July 31 has put civilians in great danger," the LTTE said, adding that Muslim civilians had been killed by security forces.
Muslim legislators said a total of 27 civilians had been killed in Muttur since Thursday.