Blast kills army officer in Sri Lanka, rival Tigers clash

COLOMBO, June 8, 2006 (AFP) – Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a mine in northern Sri Lanka Thursday, killing an army officer, and clashed with a rival faction elsewhere leaving at least 15 dead, military officials said.

There was no immediate comments from the Tigers about military claims of internecine clashes.

On Wednesday, eight civilians were killed and 14 wounded in the east of the island in a mine attack the Tigers blamed on government forces.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said seven civilians were killed instantly and another died while being transported to the main district hospital in Batticaloa on Wednesday.

The brief ICRC statement did not say who was responsible for Wednesday’s explosion, but Tamil Tiger rebels said the attack was carried out by government troops who had infiltrated an area held by the guerrillas.

A government military official here denied involvement.

The violence comes ahead of a meeting in Oslo later Thursday between the government and the Tigers to discuss the safety of Scandinavians monitoring a truce that is close to collapse.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) set off a powerful Claymore mine attack in the Wanni