Soldiers kill 10 rebels in clashes across northern Sri Lanka, military says

Government soldiers fought with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in five separate clashes across Sri Lanka's restive northern region, leaving 10 guerrillas dead, the military said Monday. The two sides fought in Parappakandal, Periyathampanai and Navatkulam villages of the northern district of Vavuniya on Sunday in clashes that killed seven rebels, an official at the defense ministry information center said. Soldiers fired artillery rounds into another region in Vavuniya, killing one rebel, the official said on condition of anonymity, citing government rules. A separate clash Sunday in the nearby Mannar district also killed one guerrilla, he said. Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment. Both sides in the conflict are known to give inflated casualty figures for the other side while playing down their own losses. Independent confirmation on the clashes is not possible, because journalists are barred from the area.