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DATE=9/12/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=LANKA WAR (L-O) NUMBER=2-253769 BYLINE=VANDANA CHOPRA DATELINE=COLOMBO INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: More than 70-Tamil Tiger rebels and soldiers have been killed in fresh fighting in northern Sri Lanka's. Vandana Chopra has the details from Colombo. TEXT: Sri Lankan Defense Ministry officials say the military moved ahead on two fronts and destroyed a large number of rebel bunkers before it came under attack from Tamil guerrillas. The defense ministry statement says 18-soldiers were killed and 150-wounded, 48 of them seriously, when rebel guerrillas rained mortars on troops in the Northern Wanni region. Monitored rebel transmissions indicate 53 Tiger rebels died when the army retaliated with artillery and mortars. The fighting follows a so-called -- Two-Days of Tranquility -- observed by both sides for a polio immunization program in the war-torn areas. The renewed fighting between the rebels and the military is the fiercest in recent months. The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community in Sri Lanka's North and East since 1983. The government says more than 50-thousand people have died in the ethnic war that has strained the government and economy. (SIGNED) NEB/VC/RAE 12-Sep-1999 13:30 PM LOC (12-Sep-1999 1730 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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