[QODLink]
Archive
More than 100 die in Sri Lanka blast

At least 102 people, including some civilians, have been killed in an apparent suicide attack by Tamil Tiger separatists on a Sri Lankan navy convoy.

Last Modified: 16 Oct 2006 18:59 GMT
The Sri Lankan army is fighting separatist rebels

At least 102 people, including some civilians, have been killed in an apparent suicide attack by Tamil Tiger separatists on a Sri Lankan navy convoy.

The attack took place on Monday near the town of Habarana, about 190km northeast of the capital, Colombo, police and military said.

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, a Sri Lankan military spokesman, said Tamil Tiger separatist fighters had rammed a small truck loaded with explosives into the convoy.

At least 102 people were killed and more than 150 wounded, said a spokesman at the media centre for national security in Colombo, adding that the toll could climb. 

The dead were mostly navy sailors but some civilians were also killed. 

The navy gathers its men at a transit camp near Habarana before transporting them to the eastern naval base of Trincomalee.

"There were about 15 buses and 13 were damaged in the explosion," a navy officer in Colombo, who did not want to be identified, said.

"The sailors were in civilian clothes and were not carrying weapons because they were either going on leave or reporting back after vacations," the national security spokesman said.   

He said the toll could go up as many bodies had been blown to bits and a count was still ongoing.

Rasiah Ilanthiriyan, a Tiger spokesperson, said on the pro-rebel tamilnet.com website: "When Sri Lanka air force bombers continue to bomb targets in Tamil homeland ... How could anybody expect the Tigers to refrain from targeting military installations."

The attack comes amid increasingly heavy-fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the Tigers.

Crash

A Sri Lankan air force fighter jet meanwhile crashed into a lagoon on the outskirts of Colombo on Monday, a military spokesman said.   

"A Kfir [fighter jet] has crashed into the Negombo lagoon. We are investigating whether it was an attack or a technical fault," the spokesman said, referring to a township about 30km north of Colombo.

Early on Monday morning the Sri Lankan navy said that it had destroyed a trawler loaded with arms, killing at least five Tamil Tiger fighters late on Sunday.

Navy patrol boats spotted the trawler off the coast about 220km from Colombo and fired warning shots, a defence ministry official said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

The Tigers shot back and the navy fired at the trawler for about 10 minutes, setting off a large explosion, the official said.

"Considering the explosion that occurred on the trawler, we believe that it was transporting a large quantity of explosives and arms."

He said that the craft sank, killing five suspected Tamil Tiger fighters.

Civilians executed

Also on Sunday, Kumar Sandanayake, a police spokesman, said that in northern Vavuniya, Tamil Tiger fighters captured three ethnic majority Sinhalese civilians and two Muslims.

He said the Muslims were set free, but the Sinhalese were blindfolded and fatally shot.

On Saturday night Tamil Tigers fired artillery and mortars at military positions on the northern Jaffna Peninsula, killing two soldiers and wounding 13 others, an officer at the media centre for national security said on condition of anonymity.

Troops repulsed the attack using artillery and mortars, he said.

The military controls nearly all of the Jaffna Peninsula, which the Tigers claim as the Tamils' cultural heartland. The Tigers still hold small pockets in the area.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list