Colombo: Sri Lankan forces inflicted heavy casualties on LTTE rebels killing 150 of them while losing 28 of their men as they launched a major offensive to push back Tiger artillery that has been targeting their main airbase in Jaffna peninsula.
At least 28 soldiers were killed and 125 wounded in the fighting that began on Saturday along the de facto front line at Muhamalai in the Jaffna peninsula, the defence ministry said.
Three soldiers were killed in a grenade attack in the northern district of Vavuniya on Sunday. A defence ministry official said the military killed at least 150 Tigers.
However, there was no immediate word from the Tigers about the casualties on either side.
A new wave of fighting erupted in Jaffna last month when the Tamil Tigers staged a major artillery and mortar attack against military positions within the peninsula, but most of the battles died down after two weeks.
Security forces staged the latest action to strengthen defences and push back Tiger artillery that targets the main airbase in Jaffna, military sources said.
The fighting has also effectively cut off the only road access to the peninsula where about 8,000 civilians, including a large number of foreign nationals of Sri Lankan origin, are believed to be trapped.
The Sri Lankan Navy on Saturday moved 795 civilians in a military ship to the north-eastern port town of Trincomalee.