| GEO World|
| Sri Lankan military: Clashes leave 28 rebels dead|
| Updated at: 1329 PST, Saturday, March 21, 2009|
COLOMBO: Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's north has left at least 28 separatist Tamil Tigers dead, close to the last rebel-held town, the military said Saturday.
They were killed near Puthkkudiyirippu, where fierce battles between government troops and the rebels have been raging for several weeks, said military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara. ``There were a total of 28 LTTE fighters killed, and there are confrontations still taking place,'' he said, referring to the rebels' formal name, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The military does not give casualty figures for its troops. Independent accounts of the fighting are not possible because access to the war zone is restricted. The army has ousted the Tamil rebels from all but one of their strongholds in an all-out offensive the government hopes will soon end the island's 25-year-old civil war. The rebel holdouts _ along with tens of thousands of terrified civilians _ are confined to about 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) of jungle and beach on the northeastern coast.