Seven rebels killed in Sri Lanka

By Xinhua

Colombo : At least seven Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in separate clashes with government troops in Sri Lanka, military officials said Friday.

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The Navy said that two bodies of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres were found in the Kayts Island near the northern Jaffna peninsula after the rebels and a Navy foot patrol clashed around 3.45 a.m.

In the Thoppigala area of the eastern Batticaloa district, five LTTE bodies were found after the forces launched an attack against the rebels Thursday night, officials said.

The bodies have been sent to the hospital at Mahaoya area in the district for subsequent handing over to the LTTE through the International Committee of the Red Cross, officials added.

Meanwhile, three bodies of youth were found Friday morning in the northern Vavuniya district and the authorities are still investigating the case.

Continued military clashes in the restive north and east have hampered the Norwegian backed peace process to try and resolve the island's long drawn-out separatist armed conflict.

More than 4,000 people have been killed since December 2005 despite the Norwegian-arranged truce in place.

The LTTE has been fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's 12.5 percent Tamil minority since the 1970s.