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Tamil Tigers may attack Lankan civilian ships

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The LTTE on Monday asked civilians not to board Sri Lankan vessels plying between Trincomalee and Jaffna as it had taken a decision to attack such vessels with immediate effect.

The warning was put out by the Voice of Tigers (VOT) radio, and had appeared in the pro-LTTE website www.puthinam.com and the Tamil daily Sudar Oli also.

The LTTE said that civilian vessels would become a legitimate military target if they were suspected of carrying Sri Lankan troops also.

It accused the armed forces of using civilian vessels on this route to transport troops and munitions in the hope that the militants would not attack passenger vessels with civilians on board.

"Because we are going to take immediate steps to disrupt the movement of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in the sea, civilians are advised not to board any such vessels," the LTTE said.

Lankan offensive against LTTE heartland feared

Meanwhile, the LTTE's political wing leader, SP.Tamilselvan, told the visting Norwegian Ambassador, Hans Brattskar, in Kilinochchi that the Sri Lankan government was massing troops in the Weli Oya region to launch a "major offensive" against the LTTE in Mullaitivu district.

Mullaitivu district, north of Trimcomalee, is the LTTE's heartland as on date.

Tamilselvan went on to say that the LTTE had placed its own for forces "on high alert" across the Wanni region (which includes Mullaitivu) following the build up by the government troops.

"Colombo would plunge the entire island into a bloody war by engaging its troops in this dangerous exercise," he warned.

He charged that the international community was giving only "lip service" to peace but was actually giving military assistance to the Sri Lankan government, ignoring the "disastrous humanitarian situation" in the Tamil-speaking North-Eastern Sri Lanka, which the Rajapaksa government had created.

LTTE ready for opinion poll

When asked about the Sri Lankan government's claim that the LTTE could not be the sole representative of the Tamils of the North-East because 54% of the Tamils of this area lived in government-held territory, Tamilselvan said that the LTTE was "fully prepared to support an opinion poll administered by the international community" on this issue.