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Tamil Rebels, Soldiers Among 29 Killed in Sri Lanka Violence


Sri Lanka's military says its troops killed at least 25 Tamil Tiger rebels in separate incidents Monday and Tuesday in the north of the country.

The military says three soldiers also died in clashes in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the Vavuniya district and Welioya area.

In other violence Tuesday, police say prominent opposition Tamil lawmaker Thyagaraja Maheswaran, of the United National Party, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while visiting a Hindu temple near the capital, Colombo.

Security officials say a suspect has been detained.

Maheswaran represented the embattled Jaffna district and was an avid campaigner for the rights of Tamils. He also had denounced the government's stepped up military campaign against Tamil rebels.

Two years ago, he survived a similar attack while running in general elections.

Tamil Tiger rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, claiming discrimination from the Sinhalese majority.

Some 70,000 people have been killed and fighting continues despite a 2002 ceasefire.

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