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Sri Lanka's Military: 23 Tamil Rebels, One Soldier Killed in Clashes


Sri Lanka's military says 23 Tamil Tiger rebels and one soldier have been killed in separate gunbattles in the island's north.

Officials say the fighting took place Friday in the districts of Vavuniya and Mannar.

The military's claim could not be independently verified.

There has been no immediate comment from the rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Earlier this week, the two sides fought a major battle in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, where the military said 52 rebels and 11 soldiers were killed.

Fighting between the government and rebels has worsened in the past year, with the military intensifying its campaign against rebels in the north and east.

Both sides have repeatedly violated a 2002 cease-fire.

Tamil rebels have been fighting for an independent state in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983. Nearly 70-thousand people have died in the conflict.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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