Air attacks, land battles in Sri Lanka after ship sinkings

Air attacks, land battles in Sri Lanka after ship sinkings

ATTENTION – ADDS sabotage of electricity, new mine attack, air strikes ///

March 19, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have fought fierce land battles after government forces said they sank two ships smuggling weapons for the guerrillas, the defence ministry said Monday.

Elite commandos from a special police unit escaped a bomb attack in the eastern district of Batticaloa on Monday morning, the ministry said, adding that the roadside bomb was aimed at a foot patrol.

There were no casualties among the troops, the ministry said.

The Tigers also blew up two electricity transformers in Batticaloa district on Monday, the ministry said.

For their part, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Sri Lankan war planes bombed rebel-held territory Monday, wounding four students and their teacher in the district of Mullaitivu.

There was no immediate word from the defence ministry about air attacks.

However, an intense ground battle broke out in Batticaloa district Sunday leaving at least two soldiers dead and 13 wounded, military officials said.

The LTTE said they killed three soldiers and captured the bodies, which were to be returned to military authorities through the Red Cross.

“A team of Sri Lankan army troopers tried to advance