Navy sinks two LTTE boats, kills six cadres: Sri Lanka

February 8th, 2009 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 8 (IANS) At least six Tamil Tigers were killed Sunday when the Sri Lankan Navy on routine patrol intercepted two rebel boats off the northeastern coast of Mullaitivu, naval official said.
Navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said the Fast Attack Craft (FAC) gunboats engaged in surveillance and patrolling in the eastern sea observed “two low-profile LTTE boats being launched from the north of Mullaitivu around 5.30 a.m. Sunday”.

“Pursuing the targets, the naval craft mounted attack on the LTTE boats around 6.30 p.m., sinking them with six cadres onboard,” Commander Dassanayake told IANS, adding that the navy has recovered two LTTE boats during the subsequent search operation in the vicinity.

He suspected that these two boats could have been the explosive-laden boats of rebels as they went up in flames when the naval fire hit them.

“There was no damage to the navy in this clash,” Dassanayake said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have now been “cornered into an area less than 200 square kilometres” in Mullaitivu district by the advancing ground troops.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday reiterated his call for the rebels to lay down weapons unconditionally and surrender to the government troops.

“I want to tell the Tigers again to lay down weapons and surrender to our heroic forces,” President Rajapaksa said at a public rally in the north-western Kurunegala district Saturday.

Charging that the rebels had been holding thousands of civilians hostage, Rajapaksa said they must “let the civilians free and then unconditionally surrender”.

According to defence authorities, over 5,000 civilians trapped in the northern war-zone have fled the LTTE-held areas and reached the government-held areas Friday alone.

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