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Five killed in Sri Lanka shelling: Tamil Tigers

Five people, including two children, have been killed when Sri Lankan security forces shelled a village in the island's rebel-held north.

world Updated: Aug 31, 2008 12:07 IST

Five people, including two children, were killed when Sri Lankan security forces shelled a village in the island's rebel-held north, Tamil Tiger guerrillas said on Sunday.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said three civilians were also wounded in the Saturday evening attack on Puthumurippu, a village close to the rebel capital of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (200 miles), north of Colombo.

The rebels said the victims had recently been displaced due to fighting between troops and the guerrillas.

"The shell fired by the Sri Lanka army fell inside one such piece of land where three families had put up small shelters," the LTTE said in a statement. It gave the names of the five people it said had been killed.

There was no immediate comment from Sri Lankan military authorities, but the defence ministry said troops killed one rebel and wounded seven others during a pre-dawn clash in the northern peninsula of Jaffna on Sunday.

The latest fighting brought the number of rebels killed by troops since January to 6,186, according to government figures. The government says 582 of its soldiers have died in the same period.

The Tigers have not commented on the fighting itself, but the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website said the guerrillas killed 20 soldiers during heavy fighting on Saturday in the northern district Mullaittivu.

The website did not say if there were rebel casualties.

Fighting is currently centered around the north as troops push deeper into rebel-held territory to dismantle the LTTE's northern stronghold. They ejected the guerrillas from the east of the island in July 2007.

Tens of thousands of people have died on both sides since the LTTE launched a separatist campaign in 1972, for a homeland for minority Tamils in the island's north and east.