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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Six Sri Lankan troops are killed
Sri Lankan troops
The military has been fighting for months in the east
Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have killed at least six soldiers and wounded another seven in fighting in the east of the country, officials say.

The military say that a senior army officer was among the dead after clashes in a jungle area at Thoppigala.

Sri Lankan warplanes meanwhile pounded rebel positions in the island's volatile north and east on Friday.

The rebels have been fighting for independence in those areas since 1972, and around 60,000 people have died.

"Five men and their commanding officer were killed and seven escaped with injuries," a military official in the east told the AFP news agency.

"We don't have reports of Tiger casualties yet."

The fighting coincided with two air force bombing sorties in the same region to support ground troops.

The defence ministry said the air attacks were launched to provide support to the infantry which is trying to wrest control of Thoppigala - one of the last and most heavily defended rebel positions in the east.

A third bombing raid was also reported to have taken place in the northwest Mannar region.

The Tigers told the Reuters news agency that the bombs fell near populated areas, but no-one was hurt.

Correspondents say that while the army has captured large tracts of rebel territory in the east, the Tigers still control a large section of the island's far north.


SEE ALSO
Sri Lanka clash kills '15 rebels'
18 May 07 |  South Asia

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