Rebels claim to kill 130 Sri Lankan troops

Sri Lankan rebels said Wednesday they had repelled a coordinated government offensive into rebel-held territory, killing 130 government soldiers and wounding hundreds of other troops. The government denied the claims. The fighting came as Sri Lankan forces pushed ahead with a monthslong offensive against the Tamil Tigers' northern stronghold in the face of punishing seasonal rains and stiff rebel resistance. The latest battles erupted Tuesday when government forces launched attacks on rebel positions in at least four sites in the Kilinochchi district and along the front lines in the Jaffna peninsula, the rebel-linked Web site TamilNet reported, citing Tamil Tiger officials. The rebels said they forced the troops to retreat after nine hours of fighting, killing 130 soldiers and wounding more than 300 others. The rebels said they recovered the bodies of at least 10 soldiers in Kilinochchi and eight more in Jaffna, with many other bodies trapped in no man's land. The Tamil Tigers did not give details of their own casualties.