A relief ship with 1,500 tons of supplies has begun to unload its cargo for civilians in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula, which has been cut off by fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces.

A passenger ferry also was due to arrive in the north to evacuate 150 foreigners caught in the latest fighting.

Meanwhile, air strikes and artillery continued in parts of the region Friday. The Sri Lankan military says its jets bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel base near the eastern town of Kilinochchi, the rebels' de facto capital.

Late Thursday, five rebels were killed in a clash with troops in the northeastern Batticaloa district.

The United Nations says intense fighting between the two warring sides in the north and east has forced more than 200,000 people from their homes.

The fighting began last month in Trincomalee when government forces moved to take control of a rebel-held reservoir, after the rebels blocked water flow to villages in government-held land.


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