Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers attacked soldiers and rural police in two separate pre-dawn raids on Wednesday, killing four people, the military said, though the rebels said the death toll was higher.
The clashes were the latest in a spree of near-daily land and sea battles, ambushes and killings amid a new chapter in a war that has killed nearly 70,000 people since 1983.
Insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades at a police post in the northern district of Vavuniya and fired at a sentry post in the northwestern district of Mannar, a day after air force fighter jets pounded rebel targets in the far north.
"An RPG attack on a homeguard (armed rural police) point in Vavuniya killed two soldiers and one home guard," said a spokesman for the Media Centre for National Security, declining to be named, in line with policy.
"There was also a small arms attack on the army in Mannar. One soldier was killed. We have retaliated, so there may be damages to the LTTE."
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are fighting for an independent state in the north and east, said their fighters had killed five soldiers in Mannar and had captured equipment, including a machinegun and two assault rifles.
There was no independent confirmation of what happened or the number of casualties.
Analysts say both sides tend to exaggerate enemy losses and play down their own.