Sri Lanka navy claims major success against Tamil Tigers

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (L) and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe gesture as Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake (unseen) presents a supplementary budget to parliament, marking the first economic policy statement of the new government which came to power earlier in the month in Colombo on January 29, 2015. Sri Lanka's new government announced hefty taxes on top companies in a bid to raise revenue, accusing the previous regime of fudging the figures and leaving the economy in a "sad state". AFP PHOTO / Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

COLOMBO, Sept 11, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s navy on Tuesday claimed its biggest success against the Tamil Tiger rebels, saying it had virtually wiped out the separatist group’s ability to smuggle arms into the country.

More than 5,400 people have been killed in a new wave of fighting since December 2005 when a Norwegian-brokered truce began to unravel.

The navy said it had destroyed three rebel gun-running vessels offshore in separate battles, killing up to 45 guerrillas and eliminating all but one of the Tigers’ sea fleet, which had included 10 ships.

Navy chief Wasantha Karannagoda said the rebel ships were detected 600 kilometres (375 miles) off the island’s southeastern coast early Tuesday and engaged by naval craft.

“Each vessel had between 12 to 15 cadres… and we think up to about 45 may have been killed,” Karannagoda told reporters here, adding that the navy had not suffered any casualties.

“This is our biggest single attack against the Tigers,” Karannagoda said.

The navy chief said the Tigers had fired 120-millimetre mortar bombs from the