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Sri Lanka navy, air force destroy suspected Tamil rebel arms ship

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Sunday September 17, 2006

Colombo- Sri Lanka's navy and air force in a joint operation destroyed and sank a large vessel believed to be carrying weapons and ammunition for Tamil rebels, killing an unspecified number onboard, a defence ministry spokesman said Sunday. The vessel was destroyed 100 nautical miles off the coastal town of Kalmunai, 240 kilometres east of the capital, on Sunday after those onboard failed to respond to warnings by the navy, the spokesman said.

Large quantities of weapons and ammunition, including artillery, were believed to be onboard the vessel when it was destroyed, the spokesman said.

There was no immediate comment from the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"The LTTE's continuous attempts to acquire weapons and ammunition during the past failed due to measures taken by foreign countries. This incident is a clear indication that the LTTE has not stopped their attempts in procuring arms and ammunition to further their terrorist activities," a defence ministry statement said.

Tamil rebels and government troops have been fighting each other during the past 10 months in the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, leaving over 2,000 from both sides as well as civilians dead while prospects of reopening peace talks under a Norwegian backed peace process have been diminishing.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur