LTTE rebels pounded military bases in northeastern Sri Lanka on Wednesday with heavy artillery, sparking a battle with government troops in which at least 20 civilians were wounded, officials said.
The Tigers directed their latest attack against three military camps in the southern sector of Trincomalee where they had targeted the main naval port on Tuesday, military officials said.
Sri Lanka has deployed war planes and heavy artillery to resist the Tiger shelling. Fighter bombers pounded positions of the LTTE Wednesday morning, officials said.
At least 20 civilians who were caught up in the cross fire were admitted to the Muttur hospital.
The latest attacks came hours after President Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to brief him on the latest developments in Trinmcomalee where India has commercial interests.
The defence ministry said the Tiger attacks had now been neutralised.
"When the retaliatory fire by troops began, the strength of their fire weakened," the ministry said in a statement. "LTTE terrorists gradually withdrew with heavy casualties."
The ministry said the exchange of fire lasted about two hours. There were no casualties among the troops, the ministry added.
The pro-rebel Tamilnet.Com website said the Tigers had overrun the Kattaparichchan army base, but the defence ministry here denied the claim.