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LTTE mortars kill soldier, wounds 3 in Sri Lanka

Tamil Tiger rebels fired mortars at a military camp in eastern Sri Lanka, killing a soldier and wounding three others.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2006 13:49 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Tamil Tiger rebels fired mortars at a military camp in eastern Sri Lanka, killing a soldier and wounding three others, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The attack took place Saturday near Muruvikulama in Batticaloa District, a hotbed of continuing violence between the military and the rebels, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. "They fired mortars twice at one of our camps and that killed one soldier and wounded three others," he said.

Later Saturday, air force fighter jets bombed a rebel artillery base in the east, near the site of the rebel mortar attack, Samarasinghe said.

Planes also pounded and destroyed an insurgent training base in northern Mullaithivu, Samarasinghe said.

The rebels said four people were wounded, two seriously, in the airstrikes in the east. In an e-mailed statement, the rebels said the bombs fell on houses in two villages already damaged by earlier attacks.

The statement did not specify whether the targets were military or civilian, but identified the wounded by name, suggesting they were civilians. The rebels generally do not reveal their fighters' identities.

The Sri Lankan military often accuses the rebels of locating their artillery and mortars in civilian areas.

Separately on Saturday, police guarding the Urban Council local administrative office in the northern town of Vavuniya stopped and searched a man and found him to be carrying an anti-personnel mine, Samarasinghe said.

The army's Bomb Disposal Unit defused the Claymore minea favored weapon of the separatist rebels.

Sri Lanka's nearly two-decade-long civil war halted in 2002 when Norway brokered a cease-fire, but the truce has recently come under serious threat due to near-daily violence.

More than 3,500 combatants and civilians have been killed in fighting this year, according to the Defense Ministry. The Tamil Tiger rebels are fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.1 million ethnic Tamils, who have faced decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. Before the cease-fire, the civil war killed 65,000 people and displaced 1.6 million others.

First Published: Dec 31, 2006 13:49 IST