Sri Lankan security forces have stepped up attacks against Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's north, leaving at least 44 guerrillas dead for the loss of two soldiers, the military said on Monday.
Troops advanced into territory held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at at least three fronts in the vast Wanni region on Sunday, military officials said.
They said 10 soldiers were also wounded in Sunday's fighting. There was no immediate word from the Tigers about the military's latest claims.
The deaths raised the number of rebels killed by troops to 5,745 since January, while 522 soldiers have died in combat during the same period, according to ministry figures.
The government has poured a record 1.5 billion dollars into this year's war effort and troops are now concentrating on dismantling the LTTE's de facto state in the north.
Colombo pulled out of a truce with the LTTE in January saying it had the upper hand in the long-running conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1972.
The Tamils are fighting for an independent homeland.