The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a statement that forces within the government were trying to sabotage a Norwegian-arranged truce by resorting to violence and blaming them.

"Denying any involvement in the assassination of Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mr Lakshman Kadirgamar, LTTE's political head, S.P. Thamilselvan on Saturday condemned Colombo for hastily blaming the Liberation Tigers for the killing," the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said.

Internal power struggle

"LTTE's political head said that Colombo, ridden with internal rifts and power struggles, should look inwards for culprits of the assassination."

The Tamilnet quoted Thamilselvan as saying that there were "several forces" opposed to the ceasefire agreement in the island's south where the majority Sinhalese community was concentrated.

"We also know that there are sections within the Sri Lankan armed forces operating with a hidden agenda to sabotage the ceasefire agreement," he said, urging Colombo to conduct a "thorough investigation" to identify the killers.

He added that there is a growing trend in the south of the island to blame the LTTE for all killings.

Defence ministry spokesman Daya Ratnayake said Tigers were the prime suspects.