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UPDATED: 10:04, March 26, 2006
Tamil Tiger rebels sink Sri Lankan military gunboat
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A Sri Lankan Navy fast attack craft was sunk off the northern coast in an explosion when it was nearing a suspected Tamil rebel trawler, defense officials said Saturday.

The incident happened 17 nautical miles west of the northern town of Mannar around noon local time (0600 GMT), officials said.

"We received prior information that the LTTE were bringing in arms. The Navy approached the suspected trawler when it exploded in a loud bang," a Naval official who did not want to be named said.

Officials said that 19 sailors were on board the Navy's Dvora craft, 11 of them were rescued soon after the blast while eight of them had gone missing.

The Dvora fast attack craft was completely sunk.

This was the second explosion of a Navy's Dvora within three months.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were blamed for the mid January attack on a Dvora killing 13 sailors.

The rebels and the Navy often clash in the northern seas despite the ongoing Norwegian backed truce.

Source: Xinhua

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