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'Rebel suicide attack foiled at sea'

world Updated: Oct 22, 2008 23:54 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) carried out a suicide attack on two merchant navy ships early on Wednesday off the Kankesanthurai harbour in northern Sri Lanka, damaging one ship and disrupting the supply line to the Jaffna peninsula.

The attack was carried out at about 5 am while the two ships, Ruhuna and Nimalwa, loaded with food and building material were on their way to Jaffna.

“Three LTTE suicide boats with at least two cadres in each launched the attack. But the navy personnel aboard the two ships attacked the three approaching boats with machine guns. Two were completely sunk and the third was seized,’’ Sri Lankan navy spokesperson, Commander DKP Dassanayake told HT. He added that one of the boats before sinking exploded near Nimalwa, damaging the hull.

The pro-LTTE website TamilNet said: “Sri Lanka Army soldiers fired rockets from their coastal positions in Vadamaraadchi. Fishermen in the area reported heavy exchange of gunfire in the seas after two explosions.’’

Conflicting reports emerged on the damages. While the SLN said only one ship sustained “minor damages’’, the LTTE claimed that the attack was successful and at least one ship was “heavily damaged.’’

“The attack reveals LTTE’s double standards; on one hand, they claim to be fighting for their community and on the other, they are hampering welfare efforts,’’ Dassanayake said.

TamilNet said one of the ships was carrying military equipment.