The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

Sri Lanka navy kills 26 rebels in ocean gunfight

Sri Lanka armySri Lanka’s navy killed 26 Tamil Tigers and destroyed four boats during a six-hour sea battle on Monday on the coast just off the sliver of land where the separatists are fighting a final stand, the navy said.

One sailor was killed and three others were injured in the gun duel off of Chalai, north of the military-declared no-fire zone where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are dug in among tens of thousands of civilians.

There, the military expects to soon end a 25-year separatist conflict that saw the Tigers at one point controlling 15,000 square km (5,792 sq miles) of the Indian Ocean nation that is now just 25 square km (10 sq miles).

The battle began shortly after midnight when a Navy special boat squadron and a rapid attack squadron spotted a cluster of LTTE boats, the navy said.

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“All four LTTE boats were destroyed killing 26 Sea Tigers including a leader on board. We lost one sailor due to gunshots and three others including an officer were injured,” Navy Spokesman Commander Mahesh Karunarathen said.

The Tigers’ naval wing, the Sea Tigers, had for years given the navy trouble, using small boats with powerful outboard engines to swarm larger naval craft and carry out suicide or other attacks, smuggle weapons and move fighters around.

But the navy then built a fleet of small, high-speed boats mounted with heavy guns to counter the threat, and has racked up a steady series of kills against what had been one of the Tigers’ most effective tactical units.

The Tigers could not be reached for comment.

The Tigers now hold only one square km outside the no-fire zone, the last scraps of a land they have fought since 1983 to turn into a into a separate state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority.

Source: Reuters

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