Sri Lanka says 39 rebels killed in fighting

March 30, 2009 09:31

At least 39 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed in land and sea battles on Sri Lanka's northeast coast as an army offensive moves forward in a bid to end 25 years of civil war, the military said Monday. A navy officer said 26 rebels were killed in a sea battle Monday off Chalai. Four boats belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were sunk in the fighting, said the officer, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The officer said one leader of the Sea Tigers - the rebels' naval wing - was killed. One government sailor died and three were wounded he said in the battle that lasted four to five hours. A separate military statement issued Monday said 13 rebel bodies had been recovered in heavy fighting Sunday night after the military had broken through a fortification built by the Tigers to defend their last strip of land.

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