Suspected Tamil rebels detonated a roadside bomb in northern Sri Lanka on Monday, killing one soldier and wounding two others, while three military camps in the east came under rebel fire, the Defense Ministry said.
The bomb targeted a military foot patrol in Point Pedro, a small port town on the northern tip of the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula, an official at the ministry's media center said. One soldier was killed and two others wounded, said the official, who declined to be named due to ministry protocol.
Earlier, military spokesman, Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said the rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fired as many as 20 rounds at three camps in eastern Batticaloa district. "We had taken defensive and protective measures and we suffered no casualties," Samarasinghe said. Some of the mortars fell outside the camps, which are well fortified with bunkers, he said.
Samarasinghe said the military retaliated with artillery fire, but he had no information about possible rebel casualties. Batticaloa has become a hotbed of continuing violence between the military and separatist rebels, who are fighting for an independent homeland in the northeast for the country's 3.1 million ethnic Tamils, who have faced decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.
Sri Lanka's civil war eased in 2002 when Norway brokered a cease-fire, but the truce has recently come under serious threat due to near-daily violence. More than 3,500 combatants and civilians were killed in fighting last year, according to the Defense Ministry.