6 Tamil rebels, 1 soldier killed in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan soldiers on foot patrol killed six Tamil Tiger rebels in two clashes in the country's northeast, the Defense Ministry said Sunday, in continuing violence that has brought the island to the brink of an open civil war. Three rebels were killed when a military patrol returned insurgents' fire in northern Vavuniya on Saturday, hours after a bus bombing blamed on the rebels in the area killed eight people, said a duty officer at the military's information center in Colombo. One government soldier was killed, he said. Three more rebels were killed in another confrontation late Saturday in eastern Batticaloa in which one soldier was wounded, the officer said on condition of anonymity because of military policy.