Suspected rebels kill three Sri Lankan troops in gunbattle

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed three soldiers from a military intelligence unit in a gunbattle in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, the defence ministry said. Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed three soldiers from a military intelligence unit in a gunbattle in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, the defence ministry said. The rebels attacked the three men who were travelling in a three-wheel scooter in the district of Batticaloa, a ministry spokesman said.

“One of our soldiers managed to fire about 10 rounds before he was killed by a burst of automatic fire from the terrorists,” the spokesman said, adding that officials believed the attack to be the work of the Tigers.

There was no immediate word from the rebels. The pro-rebel tamilnet.com website reported the incident without comment.

The defence ministry spokesman said they believed the three troopers had been followed by two men on a motorcycle who first opened fire on the scooter driver.

“We have reason to believe that the pillion rider may have been injured when our soldier fired back,” the spokesman said, adding that a cordon-and-search operation was under way in the area.

A Nor