Sri Lanka naval craft sunk in explosion, 10 sailors missing

March 22nd, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by admin  

Colombo, March 22 (DPA) A Navy fast attack craft on a routine patrol off the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka sank after being caught in a pressure mine explosion Saturday morning, leaving 10 sailors missing, Navy sources said. Six sailors have been rescued and a search operation was underway off the Nayaru coastal area, 320 km northeast of the capital, Colombo, the sources said.

The Navy said the mine had been planted by rebels targeting the craft.

Officials confirmed no sea confrontation had taken place after the explosion and boats following the craft were able to move in immediately to help the affected sailors.

Government forces have stepped up military operations against Tamil rebels in the northern part of the country in recent months, but the rebels are putting up stiff resistance.

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