Lanka launches air, sea raid on LTTE boats

Colombo, May 5:

Sri Lanka launched air and sea attacks against several Tamil Tiger boats off the island’s northwest today and destroyed one vessel and a truck transporting reinforcements, the military said.

Naval craft confronted at least four boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) near Kuthirimalai Point off the coastal district of Mannar, they said.

Defence ministry spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said the navy called for air support to hit a rebel truck that was transporting a heavy gun to the coast to attack the navy.

“A helicopter gunship went and destroyed the Tiger truck transporting a heavy gun,” Samarasinghe said. He had no details of Tiger casualties.

The navy has accused the rebels of gun running in the area where the island’s ethnic conflict simmers.

The confrontation was at the same spot where the Tigers sank a naval gunboat by blowing up their own craft as sailors were about to search it in March. Eight sailors were killed in that attack.