Colombo, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan troops battled Tamil Tigers in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, and the air force bombed rebel camps in the east Friday in expanded fighting that threatened a return to full-scale war on the island.
Two separate clashes were taking place on the peninsula, the traditional home of Sri Lanka's 3.2 million Tamils, a rebel spokesman said. Separately, the air force targeted an area in the Batticaloa district in the east, about 56 miles south of a waterway where the two sides have fought for the past two weeks.
"We are being attacked by Sri Lankan forces, and we are defending our positions," Tamil Tiger spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said. "Our soldiers are fighting with the great responsibility of saving our people."
He said 20 civilians were wounded in artillery fire in the peninsula and the Tigers told civilians to move to a safer place because of the attack.