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UPDATED: 14:23, November 18, 2006
Sri Lanka Navy and Tamil rebels in sea clash
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Sri Lanka Navy and Tamil Tiger rebels have engaged in a fierce sea battle off northern coast early Saturday morning, defense officials said.

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, the military spokesman, said the Navy and the sea wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) clashed starting at around 6 a.m. local time (0030 GMT) off the coast of Pesalai in the northern Mannar district.

"We can only confirm that a battle had taken place but no details of any casualties or damages are available right now," Samarasinghe said.

The Navy sources said the fighting went on for over an hour.

The LTTE sea Tigers and the Navy have been engaging in frequent heavy battles in the northern seas ever since the escalation of violence which began almost an year ago.

Over 3,500 people had been killed in the clashes up to the end of October, the military announced early this month.

The international community has urged the two sides to stop violence and re-enter the talks process backed by the Norwegian peace facilitators.

A round of face to face talks between the two sides failed at the end of last month in Geneva, Switzerland over the closure of the main A9 highway to the north.

Source: Xinhua

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