At least 80 Tamil Tigers were killed in fierce fighting with Sri Lankan troops in the island's embattled north, the military said on Saturday, as clashes intensified after the government last week decided to pull out of a six-year-old ceasefire with the rebels.
At least one soldier was killed and 27 others sustained injuries in the fighting, which came even as a Japanese peace envoy's headed for the island to discuss the situation after the scrapping of the 2002 truce.
The military said at least 80 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were killed in a series of gun battles with the security forces in the restive northern parts of the country, with most of the casualties occurring in clashes in Vavuniya and Mannar fronts.
In Muhamalai in Jaffna peninsula, troops on Friday ran into LTTE bunker defences, killing three rebels, the Defence Ministry said. While one soldier suffered injuries in a clash at Nagarkovil defences in Jaffna, on the Kilaly front, three soldiers were injured when the militants opened fire at the security forces' defence yesterday morning.
On the Vavuniya front, troops clashed with LTTE at several locations north of Vilathikulama area, killing 16 Tigers and injuring 10 others, the Ministry said.
In the general area south of Madhu in Vavuniya, army infantrymen ambushed militants' reinforcement yesterday afternoon, the army said adding, ground sources have confirmed that 10 rebels lost their lives.