Sri Lanka says 147 dead in recent fighting

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COLOMBO, Oct 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military said it killed 137 Tamil Tiger rebels but lost 10 soldiers in the past 12 days of fighting.

The clashes in the north, focus of renewed civil war between the state and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is the latest in a series of near daily clashes in recent months.

The military also said there has been no civilian casualties during the period of the latest military casualties.

The rebels, who say they are fighting for an independent state for minority ethnic Tamils in the north and east, were not immediately available for comment.

The military has launched an offensive to drive out the rebels from Mannar, after evicting them from jungle terrain they controlled in the east earlier this year.

Around 5,000 people have been killed in fighting between the military and the LTTE guerrillas since early 2006.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the war erupted in 1983.

Reuters SKB GC1609

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