Sri Lanka sinks five Tiger boats in new violence
Colombo, June 17 : Sri Lanka's military said it had sunk five Tamil Tiger rebel attack boats after an attack on a northwest police post today, while two suspected rebel frogmen were arrested and attempted suicide after landing near the capital.
Sri Lankan government jets hit targets near the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stronghold overnight in retaliation for an attack on a civilian bus earlier this week that killed 64, the worst incident since a 2002 truce halted two decades of war.
''Five LTTE boats were destroyed,'' the military spokesman said.
''The situation is under control. There was army artillery fire and the navy did the work.'' International truce monitors in the northwest Mannar district said they had heard heavy firing, much more serious than the hit-and-run attacks that have become commonplace in the last two months.
The defence spokesman said two suspected rebels in diving gear had come ashore at town of Pamunugama along the shoreline some 18 km north of Colombo near the resort town of Negombo and around 10 kilometres from the international airport.
They had been arrested but had then taken cyanide capsules and were being taken to hospital, he said. Local people had reported an explosion at the scene but that could still not be confirmed, he added.
Almost 700 people have died so far this year, with violence soaring in early April but so far largely confined to the island's north and east, where the Tigers want to carve out a separate Tamil homeland.