Accessibility links

Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers, Make Conflicting Battle Claims

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels say they have killed at least 60 government troops advancing toward the rebel's de facto capital, Kilinochchi.

The rebels said Sunday that they recovered 12 bodies of Sri Lankan soldiers and recaptured territories that had been recently seized by government troops.

But the government today has rejected the rebels' accounts, saying there were few soldier deaths and no retreats from army locations in the north.

Both sides in the conflict routinely exaggerate the other's casualties while minimizing their own. It is not possible to verify the claims because journalists are barred from the war zone.

The Sri Lankan government said Thursday that soldiers had seized a section of a Tamil rebel fortification around Kilinochchi during heavy fighting.

Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 for an independent homeland for the island's minority Tamils, who complain of being marginalized by the Sinhalese majority. The conflict has killed more than 70,000 people.

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