Tamil Tiger rebels said on Friday they killed 22 soldiers in a firefight in Sri Lanka's restive east, but the army said while some troops were missing, the number of fatalities would be far lower.
"We have found 22 bodies, and we are still searching," Kayal Viliyan, a senior rebel in the Tigers' eastern political office in the district of Batticaloa, told the agency.
"They came into our area and we retaliated. We have also captured some military personnel."
If confirmed, it would be the single biggest death toll in a military clash since a 2002 ceasefire halted two decades of civil war.