Rebel bombing of Sri Lanka naval base kills four sailors (Lead)

August 27th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 27 (DPA) At least four sailors were killed and 13 injured in an airstrike by Tamil Tiger rebels on a north-east naval base adjoining a harbour, military officials said Wednesday.Three civilians were also injured in Tuesday night’s airstrike by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to military sources.

Rebels dropped two bombs on the naval base in Trincomalee, 240 km north-east of Colombo, from a low-flying aircraft and escaped into rebel-held areas.

According to the navy only one of the bombs exploded.

“The bomb that has exploded has also failed to inflict considerable damage,” according to a military statement.

Military officials believe that rebels were heading towards the harbour to bomb a vessel used to transport troops, but after troops opened fire the aircraft was forced to turn back.

The rebels are known to have at least two light aircraft which they used in airstrikes on the capital last year.

The abortive attack in Trincomalee came as government troops continued to advance towards rebel-held areas in the north.

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