A wave of battles across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region has killed 32 ethnic Tamil rebels and two government soldiers, the military said Friday.Fighting has escalated in this Indian Ocean island in recent months, with the military stepping up ground assaults and air strikes on rebels in line with a government pledge to capture rebel-held territory and crush the insurgents by the end of the year.The latest fighting took place in the Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya regions bordering the rebels' de facto northern state on Thursday, said the defense ministry.