A gunfight between Tamil Tiger rebels and security forces in eastern Sri Lanka killed five insurgents and left one police officer wounded, the military said on Friday.
Meanwhile, a passenger ferry was preparing to leave eastern Sri Lanka for the northern peninsula of Jaffna to drop off five doctors and to help evacuate hundreds of foreign nationals cut off by the fighting there.
Police on foot patrol in eastern Palamimadu, Batticaloa district, were fired on by Tamil Tigers when they tried to inspect the rebels' bicycles, the National Center for Media Security said.
The officers returned fire, killing five rebels, it said. Two guns and three hand grenades were recovered, it said.
The ferry was also returning to Jaffna five Sri Lankan doctors who had been attending a conference in the capital, Colombo, when the Tigers made a major push to reclaim the peninsula on August 11.
"I'm a doctor, a cancer specialist. I am the only cancer specialist in Jaffna. And due to this war I cannot serve the Jaffna people," J Jayakumaran told the agency by phone as he waited for the boat to leave.