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Rebels, Soldiers, Civilians Victims in Latest Sri Lanka Violence


Sri Lankan civilians, rebels and government troops have become victims in a day marked by fighting and a bomb attack.

Tamil rebels Thursday raided a Sri Lankan naval base off the country's northern Jaffna peninsula, on the island of Delft.

The rebels say they killed 35 sailors, but Sri Lanka's military says fewer than 10 were killed.

Independent verification of casualty figures is rare because monitors cannot access conflict zones.

Also Thursday, the military said it killed 18 rebels and sank four rebel boats off Delft island. The rebels say only four of their personnel were killed and none of their boats was destroyed.

On the mainland, Sri Lankan officials say a bomb exploded near an army bus in the capital, Colombo. They say one soldier was killed, and several people, including civilians, were wounded.

The Tamil Tigers said they were not responsible for the bombing.

The continuing violence in Sri Lanka has prompted the International Committee of the Red Cross to withdraw its workers from two crossing points separating government-held areas in the south and rebel territory in the north.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority for 25 years. More than 65,000 people have died in the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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