Five sailors killed in Sri Lankan naval clash

June 28, 2006 (AFP) – Five Sri Lankan sailors were killed and three wounded in an exchange of fire with Tamil Tiger boats in the island’s northwest, the defence ministry said Wednesday. The navy and the Tamil Tigers clashed in the same area earlier this month in a major sea battle that killed more than 50 people. The navy lost one patrol craft during the 45-minute battle in the Kalpitiya lagoon, 170 kilometres (106 miles) north of Colombo, spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said.

The navy said it had also destroyed two Tiger boats with at least six guerrillas onboard.

“We destroyed two Tiger boats and they had at least three people on board each boat. We believe they were killed,” navy spokesman P. D. K. Dassanayake said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Tigers.