35 rebels, two civilians killed in Lanka violence

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Colombo, May 7 : In a series of battles between government forces and Tamil separatists across the country's embattled northern region, 35 Tamil rebels were killed.

In a separate incident, a bomb explosion claimed the lives of two civilians.

The military said Wednesday that the latest infantry clashes continued along the front lines in the regions of Mannar, Welioya and Vavuniya bordering the rebels' de facto state in the north, a Defense Ministry official said.

In the worst fighting, soldiers killed 25 rebels in five separate battles in Mannar, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to government regulation.

Clashes also wounded 20 rebels and 11 soldiers, he said. In the nearby Vavuniya district, soldiers killed six rebels in a confrontation while fighting in Welioya killed four rebels and wounded four soldiers.

Separately, a roadside bomb explosion blamed on Tamil rebels wounded three civilians in Vavuniya Tuesday evening and two of them died at the hospital, said the official.

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