LTTE sea-borne attack foiled, 18 rebels killed: Sri Lanka

April 4th, 2009 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, April 4 (IANS) A major sea-borne attack by the Tamil Tiger rebels has been foiled after the navy confronted a cluster of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) boats, killing 18 rebels onboard off the northeastern coast of Mullaitivu, defence sources said here Saturday.
According to the sources, the pre-dawn sea battle broke out when the navy’s Special Boat Squadron (SBS) engaged a flotilla of 10 LTTE boats, which included three explosives-packed suicide boats, heading towards Alampil and Nayaru areas.

“During the sea battle two LTTE boats were destroyed and one more was damaged. The navy conducting the search operation in the area have already recovered at least 11 bodies of the LTTE cadres killed in the pre-dawn clash,” a defence official attached to the Media Centre for National Security told IANS Saturday.

He added that two naval sailors were wounded and three naval boats sustained minor damages in the battle that broke out around 1.30 a.m. and lasted for several hours.

The official said that in a separate incident a couple of hours later in the same area, army troops manning the forward defence along the northeastern coastal belt have sunk two other LTTE boats.

“The troops have recovered seven bodies after this incident. Intercepted LTTE communications have revealed that the enemy has suffered heavy casualties,” the defence official said.

There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE that has been fighting to carve out a separate state in the island’s northeastern provinces over the past quarter century.

Sri Lanka, confident of completely defeating the LTTE militarily, claimed last week that its troops have cornered LTTE into a mere 21-sq km stretch of land, of which 20 sq km are no-fire-zone declared for thousands of civilians trapped in the area.

According to official statistics, the number of civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas defying LTTE orders was on the rise and over 62,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have already entered the government-held areas since the beginning of 2009.

These IDPs are temporarily housed in welfare centres and villages in the northern Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna districts.

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