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 Post subject: Navy kills 6 Tigers, destroy 2 more boats
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:16 pm 
Sri Lanka navy kills 6 Tigers

@ CNN / November 9, 2006

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- The Sri Lankan navy destroyed two Tamil Tiger naval boats early Friday, killing six rebels, a spokesman said, in another sign the country is drifting toward full-scale war amid increasing violence.

A naval patrol detected the rebel boats mingling with dozens of boats of fishermen returning with their morning catch around 6 a.m. Friday in the outer harbor of the northeastern port of Trincomalee, said navy spokesman, Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake.

"We destroyed the two boats of the terrorists, which were laden with explosives as there were huge sounds," Dassanayake said, adding that each rebel suicide boat was carrying three people. "All on board the boats were killed."

The incident followed a sea clash Thursday in the northern waters, where the rebels said they killed at least 26 Sri Lankan sailors. Five rebels were also killed, the insurgents said.

But Dassanayake said only seven sailors were missing from Thursday's clash.

There is no way to reconcile the contradicting casualty figures, as there is no independent verification or account of the incidents.

Thursday's fighting came as the United Nations and a rights group denounced the Sri Lankan military's shelling of a school in eastern Batticaloa district in which at least 23 Tamil civilians were killed and scores injured. The rebels say 60 were killed.

"The U.N. condemns in the strongest possible terms the shelling by the security forces of the government of Sri Lanka on defenseless civilians sheltering in Kathiraveli School in Vaharai," the U.N. said in a statement late Thursday.

"The killing and wounding of displaced persons is unjustifiable and a violation of the most basic humanitarian norms," the statement said.

The U.N. added that it is disturbed by reports that the rebels have prevented some 2,000 civilians from fleeing to safety.

Of Thursday's sea battle, the rebels said they killed at least 25 sailors and caught four sailors alive and found the dead body of another.

Tamil Tigers' military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan told The Associated Press that five Sea Tiger rebel fighters also died in the attack, in which they sunk one of the navy's fast attack craft and severely damaged another.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said Thursday's clash erupted when the rebels tried to attack a ship transporting some 300 civilians from the eastern port town of Trincomalee to Jaffna. With the main road linking Jaffna with the mainland closed, the government was helping the civilians to reach their homes.

He said the navy, assisted by the air force, destroyed 22 of 26 rebel boats which had come to attack the ship, but he did not give any casualty figures.

Rebel spokesman Ilanthirayan denied that the rebels tried to attack a civilian ship.

The Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for a separate Tamil homeland in the country's north and east, citing discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

The conflict killed more than 65,000 people before a Norwegian-brokered truce in 2002, but subsequent peace talks failed. Surging violence this year has killed more than 2,000 civilians, soldiers and rebel fighters and threatens a return to all-out civil war.

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