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Sri Lanka military says fighting kills 14

Gunbattles and mortar attacks that erupted along the front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war killed 11 ethnic Tamil rebels and three soldiers.

world Updated: Sep 24, 2008 12:51 IST

Gunbattles and mortar attacks that erupted along the front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war killed 11 ethnic Tamil rebels and three soldiers, the military said on Tuesday. The fighting came amid a resurgent government offensive against the Tamil Tiger separatists.

Fighting in the Vavuniya region killed nine rebel fighters, the military said in a statement. Rebel mortar attacks in the Kilinochchi area killed three soldiers, while other fighting there killed two rebels, the military said.

With most communication with the northern areas cut, rebel military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

Independent verification of the fighting and casualties was not possible because most journalists are banned from the war zone. Both sides have been accused of exaggerating enemy casualties and underreporting their own.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. The conflict has killed more than 70,000 people.