Colombo: Sri Lanka's air force pounded rebel positions in the north yesterday, near territory that the rebels claimed to have retaken from the military in fierce weekend fighting, the military said.
Air force planes staged the attack in an area of northern Vavuniya district where clashes between government soldiers and rebels over the weekend left dozens of fighters dead, according to Lt Col Upali Rajapakse of the Defence Ministry media centre.
Rajapakse said a gathering of guerrillas were targeted, while the information centre said two rebel artillery positions were also destroyed. A rebel spokesman was not available immediately to comment.
Earlier, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, the rebel spokesman, said the guerrillas had retaken about 7 square kilometres of territory along a de facto border between government and rebel-held areas in the Vavuniya district during weekend clashes, after losing it several months ago.
However, Rajapakse denied that government troops had retreated and said 52 guerrillas were killed in the weekend fighting. Ilanthirayan said 30 government soldiers had died.
It was not possible to verify the claims. Both sides often inflate casualty figures for the other and lower their own.
On Sunday, meanwhile, soldiers seized hundreds of anti-personnel mines, bombs and other explosives during a search of three former rebel-held villages in the east.