Sri Lanka says Tiger flotilla suffers severe losses

Sept 13, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military Thursday said it caused “severe losses” in a combined sea and air attack against suspected Tamil Tiger boats off the island’s northeastern waters, but gave no details of casualties. More than 5,400 people have been killed in fighting in the past 21 months following the breakdown of a Norwegian-brokered truce. The military in a statement said that a flotilla of 20 boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was left in flames after being attacked by aircraft following an exchange of fire with the navy.

“The targeted Sea Tiger base was in flames, the air force confirmed,” the statement said.

“The navy and the air force believes that the LTTE would have suffered severe losses in the combined attack.”

It said naval fast attack craft called in supersonic jets and helicopter gunships to “neutralise” the Tiger flotilla. The statement did not say if security forces suffered any casualties or damage.

There was no immediate word from the Tigers and claims by both sides of intense fighting cannot be independently verified.

The latest report came after the defence ministry said its aircraft had bombed suspected Tamil Tiger facilities in the same region earlier i