The Sri Lankan naval craft today attacked a suspected Tamil Tiger gun running vessel off the island's southern coast, a naval spokesman said.All well and good, but buried deeper is this:
The navy detected the boast off Dondra and despite repeated warnings to change course and arrive at a port for inspection, the vessel tried to get away, the spokesman said.
He said the vessel began firing at the navy when it fired warning shots.
"There were some explosions aboard the suspicious vessel and we think they were transporting weapons and explosives," the spokesman said.
The clash came one day after the Tigers shelled two military helicopters carrying ambassadors from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, European Union and the heads of UN agencies.More on that attack here:
The Italian and US ambassadors and the UN resident coordinator were lightly injured.
Ambassadors from Italy and the US were injured by artillery shrapnel yesterday after Tamil Tiger rebels shelled their helicopter seconds after it landed in eastern Sri Lanka on a fact-finding mission.
The attack - the first against Western diplomatic personnel since Sri Lanka's civil war began in 1983 - comes amid seven months of escalating fighting between rebels and government troops.
The ambassadors of Canada, France, Germany, Japan were also on the flight but escaped unscathed as the shells fell on a disused playground outside the eastern town of Batticaloa. Up to 12 Sri Lankan security personnel were injured.
Hospital officials said that the Italian Ambassador, Pio Mariani, had a piece of shrapnel removed from his head, but that the metal had not penetrated his skull. US Ambassador Robert Blake was treated for a slight graze to his arm.
Both men were later described as "fine" by officials, however the attack drew an angry response from the Sri Lankan government who ordered a series of air-strikes against rebel positions later in the day.
The Tamil Tigers expressed 'deep regret' at the incident, but blamed the Sri Lankan military for failing to advise them that diplomats were in the area. The Sri Lankan government described the attack as "deliberate".