Sri Lankan Navy Foils Tiger Suicide Attack

Published November 5th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Tamil Tiger suicide boats were forced to abort an attack on a key Sri Lankan port in the country's east amid hectic efforts by Norway to re-start the peace process, officials said Sunday. 

Army spokesman Brigadier Sanat Karunaratna said an explosives-laden boat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was destroyed by the Sri Lankan navy in Trincomalee harbor. 

The harbor also houses the navy's regional headquarters. 

It was the second LTTE attack on Trincomalee since October 23 when LTTE suicide boats were destroyed. Rebels also shot down an army helicopter and sank a naval personnel carrier during that attack. 

Karunaratna said three LTTE suicide boats attempted to storm into the harbor on Saturday night under cover of darkness to attack its inner defenses. 

But the boats were quickly detected and fired on by naval personnel. One suicide boat was blown-up after receiving a direct hit, another two escaped, he said. 

It was the first military attack by the rebels since Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solheim met with LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran on November 1. 

In that meeting the rebel leader expressed a desire for unconditional peace talks with the Sri Lankan government. 

Solheim left Colombo for Oslo on Saturday after briefing Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the talks. 

More than 60,000 people have died in the decade-long ethnic conflict -- COLOMBO (AFP)  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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