The fighters attacked the Pullumalai camp of the Special Task Force (STF) early on Saturday drawing retaliatory fire from soldiers.
 

A defence ministry spokesman said: "The STF had good advance information about the attack and they were waiting in ambush.

 

"We have recovered the bodies of 11 terrorists and we know they took away another four bodies."

 

There was no immediate reaction from the Tamil Tigers.

 

Meanwhile, in the northern district of Vavuniya, three policemen were killed when their patrol hit a Claymore mine, police said.

 

The defence ministry said that naval troops destroyed a rebel boat overnight off the northern peninsula of Jaffna, killing four rebels.

 

Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Norway's special peace envoy, is due to start talks with the island's leaders on Monday, officials said.

 

Both sides agreed last week to try to salvage a tattered truce in place since February 2002. More than 1,500 people have died in an upsurge in violence in the past 10 months.

 

Tamil rebels are fighting for a homeland in Sri Lanka, a majority Sinhalese nation. More than 60,000 people have died since the rebellion started in 1983.

 

The continuing bloodshed comes amid renewed efforts by peace-broker Norway to arrange peace talks early next month in Oslo between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tigers.