At least 28 Tamil Tigers and eight soldiers were killed and over 60 injured in fierce clashes in Sri Lanka's northern Wanni region, the defence ministry said on Monday.
At least 17 of the guerrillas were killed on Sunday when the troops smashed their way into the bunkers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Weli Oya in a multi-pronged offensive, the ministry said.
It claimed that the government troops had gained total control over five key points surrounding the LTTE's strategic "Base One Four" despite heavy resistance from the rebels. Weli Oya is also known as Manalaaru.
The ministry said seven soldiers were killed and one went missing in the clashes. Nineteen soldiers were injured. It added that heavy fighting was continuing as the army continued to enter rebel-held territory.
"Base One Four" is apparently where LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is based.
According to defence sources, another 11 LTTE cadres and a soldier were killed during sporadic clashes in the northern Vavuniya and northwestern Mannar districts on Sunday.
The pro-LTTE website puthinam.com claimed that the rebels had mounted a "fierce counter attack against the four-pronged military assault" in Weli Oya region.
Quoting unnamed LTTE sources in Wanni, the website claimed Monday that 15 soldiers were killed and over 25 wounded in the counter attacks. It did not give details of damages suffered by the rebels.