At least 32 Tamil Tiger rebels have died in the latest push by Sri Lankan government troops into the rebels' shrinking fiefdom, the island's defence ministry said on Friday.
The ministry said the rebels were killed in battles around the small town of Puthukkudiriruppu in the north east, where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been hemmed into a small jungle area.
It said the clashes since Thursday also led to the recovery of a large haul of arms and ammunition. No details on government casualties were given.
There was no comment from the LTTE, and no independent confirmation of the claims -- as Sri Lanka bars independent journalists and most aid workers from the north.
Colombo withdrew from a Norwegian-brokered truce at the beginning of last year. It has rejected calls for another truce, saying troops now have the upper hand in the decades-old conflict and are close to crushing the rebels.