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27 rebels killed in Sri Lanka clashes
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At least 27 rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres have been killed in a day of fighting in north Sri Lanka Saturday, defense officials said here Sunday.

Some 24 LTTErs and 11 soldiers were also injured while four soldiers died in the confrontations, officials said.

Fighting raged in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Welioya districts in the north. Nine of the LTTErs died at Navatkul, Palamodai and Manthai West areas in Vavuniya where six of them were also injured.

The government troops took control of a rebel trench at Palamodai area where two female cadres were among the nine LTTErs who died.

Elsewhere in the north at Akkarayankulam in Kilinochchi nine more LTTErs were killed by the troops with four more being injured.Some nine LTTErs were also killed and 14 others were injured at Welioya's Andankulam area.

The government troops said they were on the verge of evicting the rebels from their last strongholds, Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu districts in the north.

The military has gained the upper hand in the island's separatist armed conflict since mid 2006 by dealing a series of setbacks to the rebels. The first of which was their eviction fromthe eastern province.

The LTTE rebels have been waging war with the government troopssince the mid 1980s to carve out a separate homeland for the minority Tamils. More than 70,000 people have died in the conflict.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2008)

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