Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a government troop ship and killed eight sailors Tuesday, a pro-rebel Web site said, as Sri Lanka’s military pounded rebel positions in an attempt to seize control of a key reservoir from the guerrillas and restore water to government-controlled villages. Amid the escalating violence, Sweden announced it would withdraw its 15 observers from a Nordic cease-fire monitoring team in Sri Lanka, joining Finland and Denmark, which announced similar moves last week. Norway and Iceland remain in the mission.
The rebels fired at the troop ship, carrying more than 850 soldiers, as it sailed to the strategic port of Trincomalee, sparking a sea battle, the government said.
The pro-rebel Web site TamilNet said the rebels destroyed a navy boat in the battle, killing eight sailors. But navy spokesman D.K.P Dassanayake denied the report, saying sailors destroyed three rebel attack boats. He said he was unaware of rebel casualties.
The troop ship sailed to safety, but the sea battle was continuing, he said.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The battle continues in Sri Lanka, as set out here: