Sri Lanka clashes 'kill 26 rebels'
The Sri Lankan military says 26 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed in separate clashes with security forces.
The deaths are said to have happened in four clashes - two on the northern Jaffna peninsula and two at spots in the north west of Sri Lanka.
Rebel spokesmen made no immediate comment, and there were no independent accounts of what took place.
On Wednesday, Colombo formally withdrew from a peace accord with rebels, saying ongoing violence made it redundant.
More than 5,000 people are thought to have been killed since 2006, when the violence erupted anew.
In statements posted on the defence ministry website, military sources were quoted as saying 20 rebels had been killed in two clashes in the north-west of Sri Lanka on Saturday.
One clash is said to have taken place at Parappakandal, and another close by at Adampan, near Mannar.
The military claims to have destroyed a cache of weapons in the confrontation, which it says forces rebels to retreat into rebel-held territory.
A further six rebels are said to have died in clashes at Muhamalai and Nagarkovil on the Jaffna peninsula on Saturday.
In total, eight soldiers were injured in the operations, the statements said.
In addition, eight Tamil Tigers and one soldier were killed in fighting in similar areas on Friday, Reuters news agency quoted military sources as saying.
No independent confirmation of the reports was available.
Analysts caution that both sides often exaggerate enemy losses and underestimate their own, and journalists are barred from areas of conflict.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demand their own state in north and east Sri Lanka.
About 70,000 people are thought to have died in the war, which has been waged since 1983. ( BBC )