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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 16:09 UK

'Six killed' by Sri Lankan army

Woman allegedly wounded in the Mullaitivu attack
Violence has intensified this year

Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka say at least six civilians were killed in an attack by the security forces in the north of the island on Monday night.

They say a passenger vehicle was blown up by a roadside mine planted by the army inside rebel-controlled territory in the district of Mullaitivu.

The dead are said to have included two children. A military spokesman denied that the security forces were involved.

The rebels say 19 people were killed in the north in similar attacks in May.

Fighting

"The Sri Lankan military has targeted innocent civilians while they were going on a pilgrimage. Six people were killed and four injured," rebel spokesman Balsingham Nadesan told the BBC Sinhala service.

But army spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara accused the rebels of "always putting the blame on the military" when such incidents happen.

"We have nothing to do with the incident and we deny their allegations," he said.

The latest attack comes amid intense fighting between the Tamil rebels and the army elsewhere in the north.

Military officials said seven rebels and three soldiers were killed in the conflict on Monday.

Both sides in Sri Lanka's war claim to have inflicted heavy casualties on the other in recent weeks.

It is impossible to verify either account because the government prevents journalists reaching frontline areas.

Troops drove the Tamil Tigers from bases in the east last year and are now trying to press home their advantage in the north, where the rebels have their main stronghold.

Violence has intensified since the government pulled out of a truce this year.

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