Did LTTE attack Sri Lankan navy from Indian trawler?

February 6th, 2008 - 3:34 pm ICT by admin  

By P.K. Balachandran

Colombo, Feb 6 (IANS) Tamil Tiger guerrillas attacked the Sri Lankan navy off Talaimannar in the northwest using a hijacked Indian fishing boat, a spokesman for the navy said Wednesday. But Indian authorities believe the firing was not done from an Indian boat but from a Tamil Tiger vessel.

The terrorists had hijacked the Indian fishing vessel or were simply disguised as Indian fishermen,” Sri Lankan naval spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake said here.

The rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) fired by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from the “Indian” trawler destroyed a naval craft, killing six of the seven sailors on board, he said. The seventh sailor was injured.

Two Sri Lankan patrol craft had received calls for assistance from two boats in a cluster of Indian fishing vessels at about 6.30 p.m. Monday. But upon approaching the vessels, they were attacked with RPGs.

Dassanayake said that no retaliatory action could be taken by the Sri Lankan patrol craft because it was getting dark and there were about 400 Indian fishing vessels in close proximity.

And at any rate, when the firing started, the poaching Indian boats retreated to the Indian side of the international boundary line, the spokesman added.

But Indian officials who did not wish to be identified told IANS Wednesday that the firing was not done from an Indian fishing vessel but from an LTTE boat.

It was also not certain if the cluster of fishing boats present in the vicinity were Indian, they added.

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