Sri Lanka says kills 14 rebels in northern clashes

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COLOMBO, Oct 29 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops killed 14 Tamil Tiger rebels and two soldiers were wounded in clashes in the island's north, the military said today.

Troops killed 10 rebels yesterday and four today in three separate confrontations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the northwestern district of Mannar and the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The clashes came just days after the rebels had mounted their biggest suicide operation by land backed by air strikes.

In the latest confrontation, the military said, troops had fought off a Tiger attack early on Monday on their forward defence line on the pensinsula.

''The ground troops confirmed they had killed four terrorists who came to attack ... in Muhamale,'' said a spokesman at the Media Centre for National Security.

The Tigers were not immediately available for comment on the fighting and there were no independent accounts.

An estimated 5,000 people have been killed since early last year amid near-daily land and sea clashes, ambushes and air strikes. The death toll since the conflict erupted in 1983 stands at about 70,000.

REUTERS SKB KN1808

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