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At least 17 killed in clashes in Sri Lanka

world Updated: Dec 23, 2007 17:10 IST
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At least 17 people have been killed in heavy fighting between Tamil separatists and the Sri Lankan Army in the north of the country, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry reported on Sunday.

Eight rebels were killed and 12 injured in attacks by government soldiers on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) positions on the Jaffna peninsula, the ministry said.

Eight LTTE fighters and one soldier were killed on Saturday in clashes in Mannar district, some 300 km north of the capital Colombo.

The army managed to seize several rebel positions, the ministry said.

LTTE website Tamilnet contradicted the government report and said the separatists repelled the offensive in Mannar.

Tamilnet claimed that 17 government soldiers had been killed and 54 injured in the clashes.

The site reported three casualties among the LTTE fighters.

The LTTE is fighting for the independence of the Tamil minority and controls parts of the north of the country.