May 1 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tamil rebels have moved an unspecified number of fighters along the island’s northeastern coast in defiance of a ban on sea transport, a pro-rebel website reported Monday. The boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were closely followed by naval craft and came under attack late Sunday from Sri Lankan artillery on shore, the Tamilnet.com website said.
“During the sea journey to Trincomalee, Sea Tiger boats had to defend against artillery fire from the shores,” the Tamilnet said, quoting rebel officials in the northern guerrilla-held town of Kilinochchi.
“The Sea Tigers counter-attacked and completed their sea passage successfully.”
Tamilnet said no casualties were reported.
It did not say how many fighters or vessels were moved to the Trincomalee district, where the military carried out air strikes last week after a suspected female Tiger suicide bomber tried to assassinate the army chief, killing herself and 10 others.
Defence ministry spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said the rebels had arrived in boats and fired at two points manned by the military.
“We fired back using artillery and mortars,” he said.
Troops kept up the barrage a