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‘Mistake’ Leaves 4 Dead in Clash Between India, Sri Lanka Forces

From Times Wire Services

A soldier in Sri Lanka mistook Indian peacekeeping troops for rebels and opened fire, sparking a gun battle that left at least two Sri Lankan soldiers and two Indian soldiers dead and wounded at least five others, an Indian government spokesman said Saturday.

The clash, which occurred early Friday, was the first of its kind since Indian troops were sent to Sri Lanka nearly two years ago, but the spokesman called the incident a mistake and said both countries consider the matter closed.

The Sri Lankan soldier fired on an Indian patrol of between 20 and 30 soldiers passing a remote jungle camp, setting off a brief fire fight, said the spokesman, who requested anonymity. The shooting occurred near Vavuniya, about 140 miles northeast of the capital.

The exchange of fire between the two sides “lasted for a short while. It was stopped when the mistake was realized,” the New Delhi spokesman said. “It was decided to treat the matter as closed and not to publicize it.

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