Suicide attack sinks Sri Lankan navy gunboat with 15 sailors

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a Sri Lankan navy gunboat with 15 sailors in a suicide attack that inflicted the biggest single loss during a four-year-old truce, the defence ministry said. Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a Sri Lankan navy gunboat with 15 sailors in a suicide attack that inflicted the biggest single loss during a four-year-old truce, the defence ministry said. Military officials said the bodies of five sailors were recovered while a search was still underway for the other 10 who were missing and presumed dead after the pre-dawn attack off the north-eastern port of Trincomalee.

“There were two gun boats in the area and one saw the other being attacked,” defence ministry spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said. “The boat exploded and we believe it is an LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) suicide attack.”

He said there were two officers and 13 sailors aboard the Israeli-built Dvora class gunboat that was on a routine patrol outside the Trincomalee harbour which is a main base for the navy.

Tamil Tiger guerrillas are known to have carried out suicide attacks against dozens of naval craft in the past using small boats packed with explosives.

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