Four LTTE boats destroyed, navy craft damaged in major clash: Lanka

January 20th, 2009 - 9:37 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 20 (IANS) At least four Sea Tiger boats were destroyed and a naval fast-attack craft was damaged in a major sea clash off the northeastern Mullaitivu coast, Sri Lanka’s defence ministry said Tuesday. The defence ministry said a fierce gun battle erupted off the coast of Mullaithivu around 11.30 p.m. Monday when the Sri Lanka Navy thwarted “an LTTE attempt to get away”.

“The Navy’s Fast Attack Craft (FACs) intercepted a flotilla of LTTE Sea Tiger boats launched from Mullaithivu which were attempting to get away and engaged them destroying four LTTE boats and forcing the enemy to retreat and abandon the mission,” it said Tuesday.

Sea Tigers is the naval arm of the LTTE.

The ministry also said that a fast attack craft of the navy sustained damages due to an explosion of an LTTE suicide boat close by.

There was no immediate reaction from the rebels.

According to naval sources, Sri Lanka Navy maintains four defence barriers off the coast of Mullaithivu consisting of more than twenty-five (25) Fast Attack Craft (FACs), Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), Gun Boats, the Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) and the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) to cut off the escape of LTTE cadres by sea and to prevent the unloading of warlike materials on the northeastern coast.

The sea clash has taken place at a time when the military said that the ground troops marching towards the LTTE’s last bastions in the north have cornered the rebels in the jungle district of Mullaitivu and their defences were crumbling faster, despite heavy resistance.

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