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Sri Lankan Ferry Reported Missing After Rebel Attack

<i> Reuters</i>

A Sri Lankan ferry carrying 120 passengers from the east coast to the rebel-held north went missing after Tamil Tiger rebels attacked two naval vessels, the leader of a Tamil party in Colombo said today.

The Irish Mona was traveling from the eastern port of Trincomalee to Karainagar on the northwest island of Karaitivu, Eelam People’s Democratic Party leader Douglas Devananda said.

“There are conflicting reports, but the boat has gone missing,” said Devananda, whose once rebel party now helps government forces fighting the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. “Some people say the passengers were waving at the navy boat as if for help.”

Two navy fast-attack craft were sunk by the Tigers off Mullaittivu on Tuesday with the loss of 21 sailors, military sources said.

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Defense officials say recent attacks by the Tigers, fighting for a homeland in the north and east, appear to be part of a rebel attempt to divert the army’s attention from an expected offensive against the northern rebel stronghold of Jaffna.


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