Two Sea Tiger boats destroyed in naval battle: Sri Lanka

November 18th, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 18 (IANS) At least two Sea Tiger boats were destroyed and six rebels were killed in a major clash between the Sri Lankan Navy and the Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern waters of the country, military sources said Tuesday.The fierce pre-dawn clash broke out Tuesday in the sea off Nayaru in the Mullaitivu district, when the navy’s elite special boat squadron monitored and pursued a cluster of seven Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) boats moving along the coastal waters off Nayaru, the navy said.

“At least two Sea Tiger boats were destroyed and another boat was badly damaged during the fierce battle that lasted till 7.30 a.m. Monitoring the LTTE radio communications, it was revealed that six LTTE cadres were killed and several others wounded,” acting navy spokesman Commander Mahesh Karunaratne told IANS.

Sea Tigers is the naval wing of the LTTE and has been clashing with the Sri Lankan navy every now and then.

Claiming that there was “no damage” to the navy, Commander Karunaratne said that Air Force MI-24 gunship helicopters providing close air support to the navy has “engaged the fleeing LTTE boats”.

The LTTE was yet to comment on the latest sea battle.

The fresh sea clash comes just a couple of days after the advancing ground troops in the north captured the LTTE’s last major naval bastion of Pooneryn in the western coastal border.

The defence ministry said that the ground troops Monday captured another strategic bastion of the Tamil Tigers in the island’s north, inflicting heavy casualties among the rebels.

It said that the troops backed by artillery fire completely captured Mankulam, located on the Kandy-Jaffna main highway that connects the Sri Lankan mainland to Jaffna in the island’s northern tip, dealing a major blow to the rebel outfit.

The LTTE has been fighting to carve out a separate state in the northeast for a quarter century. Thousands have died in escalating fighting between the army and the LTTE since late 2005.

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