Sri Lanka navy claims sinking three Tiger boats

March 29, 2007 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan naval patrol has sunk at least three suspected Tamil Tiger boats off the island’s northeastern coast, the defence ministry said Thursday. The four-hour battle erupted off the seas of Alampil late Wednesday and involved a flotilla of 10 rebel boats, the ministry said, adding that one of its sailors had suffered injuries.

The ministry said three of the Tiger boats were destroyed while a fourth was damaged.

“These three Tiger craft caught fire initially and later sank, killing the Sea Tigers on board,” the ministry said. “Naval authorities believe that there were about 12 to 15 Sea Tiger cadres in the destroyed boats.”

The attack came a day after the military said it captured a key rebel base in the east of the island without a fight. The rebels had withdrawn from the Kokkadichcholai base by the time the troops moved in, the military said.