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Five killed, two injured in Lanka grenade blast

The explosion occurred when suspected Tamil rebels tried to throw a hand grenade at a group of govt soldiers in Trincomalee.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 12:26 IST

Five Tamil youths were killed and two injured in a grenade blast in northeastern Sri Lanka as regional violence escalated despite government efforts to renew peace talks with Tamil rebels, officials said.

Military officials said the explosion occurred when suspected Tamil rebels tried to throw a hand grenade at a group of government soldiers in the port city of Trincomalee, 240 km northeast of Colombo on Monday night.

However, it was not immediately clear whether the fatalities included the attackers, said an official.

Soldiers had not suffered any casualties in the incident.

The pro-rebel website Tamilnet said unidentified men had thrown a grenade at people seated on the bench killing five people and injuring two.

Tamil rebels have stepped up attacks on security forces in north and eastern Sri Lanka, despite newly elected President Mahinda Rajapakse's attempts to revive the stalled peace talks.

Rebels have killed at least 50 soldiers, sailors and policemen in the north and east during the past month and 10 people, described as rebels by the military, have been killed in counter attacks.

The rebels are party to the Norwegian-backed ceasefire agreement, which has been in effect for the past three-and-a-half years.

The government has invited Norway's special envoy, Erik Solheim, to visit Sri Lanka on Jan 23 to look into the possibility of reviving the peace talks.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 11:13 IST