19 killed in fresh fighting in Lanka: military
At least 13 Tamil Tiger rebels and six government troops have been killed in fresh fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region, the defence ministry said on Saturday.
Friday's fighting, which was centred around the Mannar, Weli Oya, Vavuniya and Jaffna regions, also wounded 27 combatants on both sides, the military said.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) made no comment on the government's statement.
Fighting is now concentrated in the island's north after government troops ejected the LTTE from its eastern stronghold last July.
The fighting raises the number of rebels killed by security forces to 4,222 since January while 369 soldiers have died in combat during the same period, according to the defence ministry.
The ministry does not allow media and rights groups to travel to the frontlines, making its claims impossible to verify.
The LTTE has been fighting for a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils from the majority Sinhalese community in the island's north and east since 1972.
Tens of thousands of people have died in one of Asia's longest-running conflicts.