22 combatants killed in Jaffna, Wanni clashes

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Colombo, Dec 1 (UNI) At least 19 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers were killed and 57 more wounded on both sides today in the Jaffna and Mannar regions where renewed civil war is focussed amid heavy gun battle, the military here claimed.

Ministry of Defence reported that heavy clashes erupted this morning when the troops launching a ''pre-emptive strike'' ahead of their forward defences in the north-western Mannar region confronted the rebels at their first bunker lines at Manthai in the south of Adampan area.

''Radio monitoring of LTTE transmissions have so far revealed that 9 LTTE cadres have died and 47 others suffered injuries in the attack. Three army personnel have been killed and 10 others injured in the incident,'' the Defence Ministry report said.

The Sri Lankan military earlier in the day claimed that at least six LTTE cadres were killed when they engaged in pre-dawn clashes with the troops manning the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) near the now closed Omanthai entry/exit point.

The Defence Ministry also claimed that four more Tigers were killed in three separate clashes with the troops in the Welioya district today.

Sri Lanka has stepped up the security arrangements in and around Colombo after the twin blast that left 20 civilians killed and 40 more wounded last Wednesday.


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