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Sri Lankan Army: Troops Kill 25 Tamil Rebels


Sri Lanka's military says its troops have killed at least 25 Tamil Tiger rebels in separate battles in the country's north.

The military said the battles took place Thursday in four villages in Vavuniya district. It said one soldier died in the fighting.

In an Internet posting, the rebels say they have prevented several attempts by the military to advance on the Jaffna peninsula since Thursday and killed one soldier. The rebels did not mention the fighting in Vavuniya.

Neither claim could be independently verified.

The fighting has escalated in recent months, after Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse vowed to defeat the rebels militarily before any new peace moves.

The Tamil Tiger rebels are fighting for an independent homeland, claiming discrimination by Sri Lanka's majority-Sinhalese population.

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

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