COLOMBO  - Sri Lankan troops launched a fresh advance into territory held by Tamil rebels Sunday, killing 15 guerrillas, while another 27 combatants were killed in other clashes, the Defence Ministry said. The latest push was in the Jaffna peninsula, which is partly held by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Defence Ministry said in a statement. "Fifteen LTTE terrorists were killed when the army made a daring advance ... this morning before first light (and) without sustaining any damage to (our) own troops," the ministry said. There was no immediate word from the Tigers about the military's latest claims, but the guerrillas said an airstrike inside their territory on Saturday killed or wounded civilians. "Two civilians, including a schoolteacher, were killed, four more civilians were injured... when (the) Sri Lanka air force bombed Iranaipalai," the Tigers said. The military has not commented on the Tiger claims, but the Defence Ministry said 26 guerrillas and a government soldier were killed in other fighting in the northern parts of the country in fresh fighting since Saturday. The latest deaths from the conflict raised the number of rebels killed by troops to 5,714 since January, while 520 soldiers have died in combat during the same period, according to Ministry figures. Independent verification of casualty figures is not possible since the ministry blocks media access to the front lines. The government has poured a record 1.5 billion dollars into this year's war efforts and troops are now concentrating on dismantling the LTTE's de facto state in the north. Colombo pulled out of a truce with the LTTE in January, saying it had the upper hand in the long-running conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1972. The Tamils are fighting for an independent homeland.