Colombo, January 17:
Suspected Tiger rebels set off two more mines and fought a gun battle with troops today as
the United Nations urged talks and Norway made a fresh bid to pull Sri Lanka back from
the brink of war. Military officials said members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ambushed a navy bus by setting off a landmine in the restive northeast port district of Trincomalee, leaving 10 sailors wounded.
The explosive device rigged up to a bicycle went off as the bus passed by, a military official said, adding that the vehicle escaped the full impact.
He said the guerrillas immediately opened fire at the bus and sailors retaliated, killing at least two of their attackers. A civilian was wounded in the crossfire.
â€œWhen the Claymore mine narrowly missed the bus, there was a hail of bullets from the side of the road,â€ the official told AFP. â€œOut of the sailors injured, one is in a critical condition and has been sent to Colombo for treatment.â€ He said troops found the bodies of two rebels. In another mine attack in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, a soldier was killed and nine were wounded today afternoon, the military said. Another soldier was killed in a grenade attack yesterday in Mannar, the military said, adding that a suspect was arrested.