Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels said in a statement Tuesday that 1,000 civilians died in a government raid, however the military denied this accusation.

The rebels said in an e-mailed statement that more than 1,000 civilians died in the government's raid Monday. It said nearly 2,300 were wounded.

And today a situation of bloodbath is prevailing, the statement said. While Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara denied the allegation, he said only 17 civilians were killed Monday and they died in rebels suicide bombing.

Government forces said they rescued thousands of civilians on Monday after they broke through a barrier built by the rebels to protect their territory. By Tuesday evening, the military said they help 52,000 civilians escape from the territory.

It is hard to obtain independent accounts of the situation because the war zone is restricted to journalists.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was unable to confirm the rebel's claim.

However, The U.N. estimated that more than 4,500 civilians have been killed in the past three months and several humanitarian groups warned that any government efforts to launch attacks into the densely populated rebel area would result dramatic increase in casualties.

The rebels have fought against the government since 1983 for an independent stare for Sri Lanka's ethnic minority Tamils. And more than 70,000 people have been killed throughout the violence.