At least 38 Tamil Tigers were killed as the military cornered the rebels in 28 sq km land stretch in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district of Sri Lanka, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.
Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops have seized 18 bodies of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). A haul of arms and ammunitions, including 36 T-56 assault riffles and a 120 mm mortar, was also recovered.
"By now, the LTTE is confined to 28 sq km," Brig Nanayakkara told reporters.
He added that number of civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas was on the rise.
Nanayakkara said at least 1,565 civilians reached the army-held areas in the battlefront on Tuesday alone, increasing the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) to 45,519 since the beginning of 2009.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) in a report said the Sri Lankan Navy has rescued 643 civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas in 35 dinghy boats, defying the orders and firing from the rebels.
"The rescued civilians consisted of 320 adults (207 males and 112 females) and 323 children (111 boys and 213 girls). The group had been found on board 35 dinghies while attempting to flee from the LTTE clutches in the uncleared areas of Mullaitivu," the MCNS report said.
It said the navy has made special arrangements to assist innocent Tamil civilians fleeing from the LTTE-held area.
"Naval personnel and vessels along with stand-by rescue and medical teams are on special deployment for this humanitarian assistance mission in the north-eastern seas," it said.