Sri Lanka acuses tigers of attacking historic Buddist temple

June 20, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Tuesday accused Tamil Tiger rebels of attacking a historic Buddhist temple in the island’s east amid fresh moves by peace broker Norway to save their collapsing ceasefire. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fired small arms towards the Somawathi Buddhist shrine in the district of Polononaruwa on Monday night, but troops guarding the temple beat back the attack, the defence ministry said.

“On retaliation by security forces guarding the sacred site, the insurgents fled the scene abandoning yet another attempt to create a backlash,” the ministry said. There were no casualties.

The LTTE denied attacking the shrine and said it could be the work of government forces to try to bring the rebels into disrepute.

“The latest attack on the Somawathi temple follows this pattern of attacks (against civilian targets) that are aimed at discrediting the LTTE,” the rebels said in a statement.

They also denied involvement in four recent attacks against civilians, including the bombing of a bus in which 64 passengers, including 15 children, were killed.

The Tigers said the attacks were also designed to create ethnic tensions.

Troops and Tiger rebels wer