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Lanka troops killed 7 civilians in Jaffna: Report

A pro-LTTE website said that Govt soldiers had opened fire on the victims who were on their way to attend a birthday party.

india Updated: May 05, 2006 11:55 IST

Government soldiers shot dead seven civilians in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula after a grenade attack wounded three soldiers in the same area, a pro-rebel website reported on Friday.

The victims were on their way to attend a birthday party on Thursday when troops opened fire with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, the Tamilnet website said.

"They were attacked by the Sri Lanka army men in retaliation to a grenade attack that took place behind their intelligence camp where three personnel, including an officer, were wounded," the Tamilnet said.

The defence ministry said troops fired at two three-wheel taxis transporting the men when they tried to attack an army sentry point.

"A huge explosion inside the second three-wheeler caused death to passengers," the ministry said, suggesting they were carrying explosives.

However military sources said the soldiers fired an RPG into the taxis.

The dead were suspected members of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the ministry said.

Two policemen also died on Thursday in a grenade attack in the northern Vavuniya district, police officials said.

The latest violence came after gunmen stormed the offices of the pro-LTTE Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna late on Tuesday, killing a manager and another employee.

Last week a suicide bombing in Colombo critically wounded army chief Sarath Fonseka and killed 11 others including the bomber.

First Published: May 05, 2006 11:55 IST