Lanka fighting kills 17 Tigers

Colombo, May 13:

Military forces and Tamil Tiger rebels fought a series of battles across northern Sri Lanka that killed 17 rebels, the military said today. Meanwhile, a police officer was killed in a rebel attack in the east.

The fighting took place yesterday, mainly along the front lines surrounding the Tamil Tiger rebels’ de facto state in the north.

In the worst battles, five rebels were killed in a morning fight with troops in the Vavuniya district, while five others were killed in a clash hours later, the military said.

Seven other Tamil Tiger were killed in other battles, it said.

Tamil Tiger gunmen also shot two police officers, killing one in the eastern district of Batticaloa, which had been controlled by the rebels until the government ousted them last year, the military said.

Tamil Tiger spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer a phone call seeking comment.

It was not possible to independently verify the military’s claims because reporters are not allowed in the war zone.