At least five soldiers and 36 rebels were killed in fighting in northern Sri Lanka as troops further expanded their area of control, military officials said Thursday.
The fighting was reported from Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu districts, over 300 kilometres north of the capital, reported dpa.
In one of the incidents in Thunukkai, Kilinochchi district, 19 rebels and four soldiers were killed when heavy fighting erupted on Wednesday, officials said.
Sri Lanka's Air force provided air support by bombing some of the rebel targets ahead of the defence lines, the military said.
In Vavuniya 11 rebels and a soldier were killed in clashes between the two sides, military officials said.
Six more rebels were killed in sporadic incidents.
Government troops backed by air cover have been advancing into rebel-held areas in a series of military operations carried out from the northern parts of the country.
The operations are targeting the two stronghold districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.
The operations against rebels to recapture areas under their control were launched in April 2006 and since then more than 10,000 rebels and 1,900 soldiers have been killed, according to figures provided by the military.
However there is no independent confirmation about the casualty figures given by the military.