Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers say two killed in clash with navy

July 8, 2007 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels said Sunday they lost two fighters during a three-hour sea battle with the Sri Lankan Navy off the island’s eastern coast. The statement came after the defence ministry said three rebels were shot dead by naval troops in the nearby eastern coastal town of Trincomalee on Saturday.

“Three Dvora FACs (fast-attack craft) were damaged in the (sea) clash. Two Sea Tigers were killed in action,” the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a statement.

The military however said it had thwarted a sea-based guerrilla attack.

“Over 15 Sea Tiger boats had arrived to confront the Sri Lanka navy,” the defence ministry said. “Navy troops confirm that the LTTE had sustained severe casualties.”

In other fighting, security forces said they shot dead a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel in the eastern Batticaloa district as a group of guerrillas fled from the jungle regions of Thoppigala.

The statement did not say if troops suffered casualties.

The latest deaths in the 35-year ethnic conflict came as the military intensified attacks to gain control of the island’s east, particularly a jungle area known as T