The LTTE, which is based in the island nation's north and east, was not immediately available for comment on the alleged attack.


'Hideout destroyed'

Earlier, the Sri Lankan military said that its aircraft had "completely destroyed" a rebel hideout on Thursday near the northern town of Kilinochchi where LTTE leaders were meeting.

 
"Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets targeted an LTTE senior leaders' gathering at Jayapoor in Kilinochchi," the defence ministry said in a statement.

 

"Pilots confirmed that the location was completely destroyed."

 

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Caught in the middle

The pro-rebel TamilNet website, however, said the bombs hit a civilian area in Kilinochchi, the main town in the rebels' northern mini-state, wounding seven people and damaging nine houses.


It said the aircraft "bombed a civilian area with a mechanic workshop", and that Tamil Tiger rebels responded with anti-aircraft fire.

  

No independent confirmation of the conflicting accounts of the raid was available.

 

The air strike took place hours after a truce, signed by the LTTE and the government in 2002, officially came to an end at midnight on Wednesday.

 

Fighting has been escalating over the past year any way, and Nordic peace monitors said late last year that they had lost count of violations of the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire.

  

The truce monitors pulled out of Sri Lanka on Wednesday, with a  warning to both sides that the long-running war cannot be won.

Source: Agencies