Sri Lanka's top defense officials say the military is ready for renewed conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels, but will not break a three-year cease-fire.

Sri Lankan Defense chief Admiral Daya Sandagiri told reporters Friday the military was ready to meet any rebel challenge. He added however that the military did not expect the country to slip back to full-scale war.

At least 14 soldiers were killed earlier this week in two separate attacks in the minority Tamil-dominated north, the biggest breaches, so far, of a 2002 cease-fire. The rebels have denied any involvement in the attacks.

The 2002 cease-fire halted two decades of civil war in the island nation, but it has come under increasing strain in recent days.

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