At least 42 dead in Sri Lanka naval battle | india | Hindustan Times
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At least 42 dead in Sri Lanka naval battle

The Govt said in a statement that the Lankan navy, assisted by Air Force MI-24 gun ships destroyed 8 LTTE boats, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 18:46 IST

Forty-two combatants are feared killed in a naval battle between the Sri Lankan Navy and the LTTE's Sea Tigers off the Pesalai-Thalaimannar coast in North Western Sri Lanka on Saturday.

In addition, one civilian woman was killed in a grenade attack on a Pesalai church.  

The government said in a statement that the Sri Lankan navy, assisted by Air Force MI-24 gun ships destroyed eight LTTE boats and damaged three others.

The LTTE lost 30 men and the Sri Lankan navy lost six in the battle, the statement said.

Earlier, 12 LTTE boats had attacked the Pesalai police station and the naval detachment at Thalaimannar. Later, they fired shots at a gathering of worshipers at the Pesalai church.

LTTE version

In its statement, the LTTE said that the four Sri Lankan Navy had attacked a flotilla of Sea Tiger boats, interfering with their movement.

In the engagement that followed, the Sea Tigers destroyed three of the naval boats and killed 12 naval personnel. The Sea Tigers themselves suffered only minor injuries.

The LTTE further said that after the naval engagement, the Sri Lankan navy attacked a colony of fishermen in Pesalai, set fire to 25 huts and threw grenades into a gathering of worshipers in a church killing one woman and injuring 45 others.

Suicide attack on Colombo foiled

Meanwhile, the people of Pamunugama, near Colombo's International Airport at Katunayake, foiled a bid by the LTTE to carry out a suicide bombing attack.

It is not known what their target was. But it could be the Colombo harbour because the terrorists had with them diving equipment.

When the locals accosted two men on the beach at 5.30 am, both bit cyanide capsules and collapsed. At the same time, there was a loud blast in the sea.

The police recovered some diving equipment from the terrorists and admitted them to the local hospital.