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Tiger rebels attack navy, 10 sailors killed


Colombo : At least 10 sailors were killed when Tamil Tiger rebel boats attacked a naval base off northern Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka Thursday, officials sources said.

Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe Samarasinghe said that 10 sailors were killed in the attack, reported DPA.

However, Tamil rebels say that 35 sailors have been killed in the fighting on Delft Island, 410 km north of the capital.

Rebel spokesman Rasiha Illanthiriyan, as quoted by DPA, said that two of the navy's fast attack crafts were destroyed and they killed 35 sailors while four rebels were also killed.

The military strongly denied that they suffered heavy casualties and there is no independent confirmation about the casualty figures.

A military spokesman said at least 12 rebel boats made an attempt to land but the navy prevented them from infiltrating the base.

Meanwhile, a bomb fitted to a motorcycle exploded in Colombo as a bus carrying soldiers passed by, killing one trooper.

The soldier died in a hospital from his injuries sustained in the bus blast near Colombo's harbour while the condition of another soldier remains critical. Three civilians were among the injured.

Though previous reports said it was a suicide bomber, it is now confirmed that the bomb was fitted to a motorcycle parked on the roadside and triggered by remote control, said the military spokesman.

The blast, suspected of being triggered by Tamil rebels, occurred at 9 a.m. on Reclamation Road during rush hour, but only a few civilian vehicles were close to the site, police said.

Police said that the motorcycle on which the bomb was planted was burnt completely while three other motorcycles and a car were damaged.

Fighting in Sri Lanka's north and eastern parts have escalated and during the past 16 months with more than 4,200 people killed.