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Sri Lankan Military: 18 Tamil Rebels, 2 Soldiers Die in Northern Fighting

Sri Lankan military officials say at least 18 Tamil rebels and two government soldiers have died in separate clashes.

Officials said Sunday that the navy attacked a rebel camp on Iranativu island off the northern coast Saturday, destroying a rebel boat and killing four Tamil fighters.

The military says the other 14 rebels died in fighting across several northern districts Saturday.

The military reports rebel casualties almost daily, and both sides are known to exaggerate the number of people killed.

The latest fighting raged despite a cease-fire offered by the rebels to take place during a regional summit in the capital, Colombo.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland for ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983.  They complain of discrimination by the ethnic Sinhalese majority. 

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

 

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