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LTTE rebels may target top Sri Lankan leaders

Police say 62 LTTE cadres may be lurking in Colombo to assassinate top leaders including Prez Rajapaksa, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2006 12:34 IST

Sri Lankan police say that 62 LTTE cadres may be lurking in Colombo to assassinate top Sri Lankan political leaders including President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"We have had intelligence reports to this effect for sometime now," Pujitha Jayasundara, DIG Colombo district, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

It was to catch these elements that the police launched a massive cordon and search operation in eight districts of the capital city last Friday and Saturday, and took in for questioning over 900 people, Jayasundara said.

Most of those taken in were, of course, Tamils.

The Tamil press bitterly complained about this in front page stories with pictures on Monday, but Jayasundara said that there was no harassment and that public cooperation was total.

He said that among the leaders targeted by the LTTE were senior ministers and leaders of political parties like Douglas Devananda of the Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP), Rauff Hakeem of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and V Anandasangaree of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF).

Out of the hundreds detained in the operation conducted by 4,000 policemen, most were released, but five were arrested on suspicion that they had links with the LTTE, Jayasundara said.

According to him, the LTTE was planning to create mayhem in Colombo and distract the government's attention from Jaffna, which the terror outfit was planning to attack massively with the idea of capturing it.

Defense expert Iqbal Athas had written in The Sunday Times that the LTTE was planning to lay a siege to Jaffna in a swift operation very soon to force the 45,000 Sri Lankan security forces personnel stationed there to surrender.

Political observers say that the LTTE may be planning to begin negotiations with the Sri Lankan government from a position of strength after the capture of Jaffna.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 19:34 IST