2ND LEAD

Sea Tigers open fire on coastal sentry in Peasaalai

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 November 2007, 06:32 GMT]
Six gunboats of Sea Tigers, the naval wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE), Friday morning at 7:50 approached Peasaalai in Mannaar and opened fired from their vessels from a close distance of 75 meters, on coastal naval and police sentry posts, Police said. The LTTE claimed to have caused damage to two SLN water jet boats and said there was no Tiger casualties. However, military officials in Colombo, who use to put the Tiger casualty figures high after the Anuradhapura operation and the recent setback in Mukamaalai, claimed that 17 Tigers were killed in the clash.

The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) from Peasaalai and Vangkaalaippaadu were engaged in fighting the Sea Tigers, according to the Police sources in Mannaar. Thereafter, a naval clash erupted 2 km off the shore and lasted for 35 minutes. The clash later shifted northwest and went on for more than 3 hours in the seas off Thalai Mannaar.

Meanwhile the LTTE claimed that the clash originated in their territorial waters and 6 water jet boats of the SLN were chased towards Peasaalai. Two of the SLN boats sustained damage in the attack, said Irasiah Ilanthirayan, the military spokesman of the Tigers. The Sea Tiger boats that confronted the SLN boats safely returned and resumed patrolling the territorial waters of the LTTE controlled area, he said.

Some houses on the Peasaalai coast sustained damages during the clash and the civilians in wards 01, 02, 03 and 04 fled their houses and sought refuge at Our Lady of Victory Church. Later, the civilians from the remaining four wards also sought refuge at St. Mary's school.

All traffic to and from Thalai Mannar via Peasaalai on A-14 road was halted from 7:50 a.m.

 

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