Sri Lanka's defense ministry says three soldiers were killed in a clash with suspected Tamil Tiger rebels on Thursday.
The ministry said the clash occurred when gunmen ambushed the three soldiers traveling in a motorized scooter in eastern Batticaloa district, a rebel stronghold.
It said one of the soldiers managed to fire at the attackers before he was killed. The ministry says the victims were members of the army's intelligence unit.
There was no immediate word about the incident from the rebels.
Sporadic clashes have been continuing in eastern and northern Sri lanka despite a cease-fire in 2002 mediated by Norway, which halted two decades of civil war.