SL navy-Sea Tigers clash, over 40 killed

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Colombo, Dec 26: Sri Lankan Navy and the Sea Tigers have locked in fierce clashes in the northern seas today leaving heavy damages on both sides in terms of man and materials at a time when the country is marking the third anniversary of the tsunami disaster.

Sri Lanka's Defence Ministry claimed that six LTTE attack boats, including two suicide craft, were destroyed during a heavy sea battle erupted this morning in seas south off Delft. ''According to latest information, Navy fast attack craft triumphed destroying six LTTE boats, while unconfirmed sources reveal at least 40 terrorists were killed during the hours long sea confrontation,'' the Defence Ministry said.

It said that fierce clashes erupted when the Naval fast attack craft engaged routine patrol confronted a cluster 16 LTTE boats carrying warlike materials towards rebel-held Nachchikuda areas.

''Further information said, a dockyard built naval craft was damaged when two suicide LTTE boats exploded in the Naval retaliatory attacks. The damaged boat is now being towed towards the Kankesanthurai harbour by the navy,'' the Defence Ministry said.

Meanwhile, a pro-LTTE Tamilnet website claimed that a Dvora fast attack craft of the Sri Lankan navy was ''completely destroyed'' during the confrontation.

Further details are not available immediately.

It is exactly three years ago that the giant waves of tsunami destroyed two third of Sri Lanka's coastal belt leaving nearly 40,000 people killed and rendered one million homeless.

Although government has claimed that post-tsunami rebuilding is nearing completion with 80 per cent of the affected people being resettled, nearly 9,000 affected families are still living in temporary shelters.

According to the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), some 99,552 houses had been provided up to December this year out of the initial requirement of 117,372 units in the 13 districts that were affected by Tsunami.


UNI

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