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Sri Lankan Forces, Tamil Tigers Battle in North

The Sri Lankan military reports new exchanges of artillery and mortar fire with Tamil Tiger rebels trying to break through government lines to capture Jaffna town and the northern Jaffna peninsula.

A Defense Ministry spokesman Major Upali Rajapakse said Sunday the rebels began an offensive nine days ago in an attempt to recapture the Tamil-majority area they lost in 1995. He said the military has successfully resisted the push.

Hundreds of rebels, government troops and civilians have been killed in the latest fighting. The military says more than 80 rebels were killed since Friday, but there was no immediate reaction from the Tigers.

The United Nations has appealed to the warring sides to allow aid workers to deliver supplies. The U.N. says refugees cut off by the fighting are running short of food and water.

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