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Lanka: 3 LTTE ships destroyed, 45 killed
September 11, 2007 17:39 IST
Sri Lanka's [Images] Navy on Tuesday claimed its biggest success against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam saying it had virtually wiped out the group's ability to smuggle arms into the country after sinking three gun-running vessels and killing 45 rebels.
Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda said he believed the LTTE were bringing three light aircraft, artillery and a bullet-proof vehicle in the ships sunk some 600 km off the island's south-eastern coast.
"This is the biggest success for the navy so far," Karannagoda said adding, the rebels' smuggling operations will be severely affected as they are left with just one ship.
The navy has so far destroyed a total of nine Tiger ships, he said.
The navy chief estimated the number of rebels killed at up to 45 and said the navy did not suffer any casualties or damage to their crafts despite the Tigers retaliating with mortar bombs.
The rebel vessels were marked 'Mayoshi', 'Seishin', and 'Koshi'.
However, officials believe they were fictitious names.
The Tigers were not immediately available for comment.
In a similar incident in March, the navy sank two cargo ships believed to be smuggling weapons and explosives for the LTTE.
Another rebel vessel was sunk on February 28.