Sri Lanka hits back after suicide attack, talks in balance

Oct 17, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan war planes hit Tamil Tiger targets Tuesday, a day after a suicide bombing killed more than 100 people and derailed efforts to save a collapsing peace process. The rebels and the government had agreed to hold October 28-29 peace talks in Switzerland before Sri Lanka’s worst-ever suicide attack on Monday left at least 103 people dead and 150 more wounded, most of them sailors.

The talks are now in jeopardy, but Norway’s special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer and the Sri Lankan government’s top peace negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva met Tuesday and discussed a possible agenda for the negotiations.

Even as diplomatic efforts continued to keep the process on track, the Sri Lankan military was launching retaliatory attacks with air force raids on two Tiger sea bases and a Tiger military camp.

“It is believed that the air strikes had inflicted heavy damages to terrorists,” the defence ministry said.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Israeli-built Kfir jets bombed their “Voice of Tigers” radio transmitting tower, but insisted the station would not go off the air.

A government statement said that de Silva, who is also the health mini