Sri Lanka battles kill 30 rebels, 3 soldiers

Government troops attacked Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north, triggering battles that killed 30 rebels and three soldiers, the military said Sunday. Fighting has escalated in recent weeks in the Indian Ocean island, with the military capturing a series of rebel bases and large chunks of territory and government officials reiterating their pledge to crush the rebel group by the end of the year. The latest battles erupted Saturday along the front lines separating government-held territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. In the worst fighting, army troops clashed with rebels in the Welioya area, leaving 16 rebels and one soldier dead, he said. Another eight soldiers were wounded.