Sri Lanka steps up security for diplomats after attack

March 3, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is stepping up security for diplomats following a Tamil rebel attack against a helicopter in which envoys were travelling, the foreign ministry said Saturday. The ambassadors of Italy and the United States and a UN coordinator were among more than a dozen people wounded in a shell attack carried out by Tamil Tiger rebels on Tuesday.

“The government will take immediate measures to enhance security for embassies or international organisations,” the ministry said in a statement.

It said diplomats had expressed concern about security following the attack, one of the worst against foreigners in the country’s civil war.

The helicopter was carrying ambassadors from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and European Union and heads of UN agencies when it came under artillery fire in the eastern town of Batticaloa, 303 kilometres (187 miles) east of here.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they carried out the attack in retaliation for the military shelling their own positions earlier in the day, and were unaware diplomats were visiting Batticaloa. The group expressed its “deep regret” over the incident, but accused the government of ri