Fighting between Sri Lankan soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels killed at least three guerrillas in the island's embattled north, the military said on Wednesday. Two clashes broke out on Tuesday in the rebel-held Kilinochchi district, the military said in a statement.
The military said it inflicted "heavy damages" on the rebels and found the bodies of three guerrillas after the battle. Rebel officials could not be contacted for comment because communication lines to rebel territory have been severed. Government troops say they are moving closer to the rebel headquarters in Kilinochchi.
Other soldiers are meanwhile trying to capture a road along the western coast that would provide government forces with a new land route to the Jaffna peninsula, the cultural capital of minority Tamils, according to the defense ministry Web site. Jaffna has been cut off from the rest of the country since 2006 when the government closed the main road to the peninsula, citing security concerns. That road cuts through rebel-held territory. The Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent state for Sri Lanka's ethnic minority Tamils.