Sri Lanka's military says government troops have killed 420 Tamil Tiger rebels in the past three days of fighting in the country's northeast.

A military spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, said Sunday that security forces have taken control of the rebels' last stronghold, Puthukkudiyiruppu.  He said bodies of many rebels killed during the fighting were found in that village. 

The government's account of the battle cannot be independently verified because journalists are barred from the war zone.

Sri Lanka says its military assault has confined the rebels to a stretch of land in the northeast that has been declared a no-fire zone.

Civilians are trapped in that area, along with the rebels.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged both the Sri Lankan military and the Tiger rebels to respect civilian rights.

The comments followed reports that civilians are not being allowed to leave the conflict area.

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