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Rebel Representative Killed In Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels say a prominent Tamil legislator has been shot dead in the capital, Colombo.

A rebel spokesman says Nadaraja Raviraj, a parliament member representing the Tamil National Alliance, was shot Friday as he was leaving his home. A body guard was also killed in the attack.

The Tamil National Alliance is widely regarded as a proxy of the Tamil Tiger rebels. The group petitioned the United Nations Thursday to intervene to protect civilians caught in the fighting between government troops and rebels.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's military says it destroyed two Tamil Tiger suicide boats Friday off the island nation's northeastern coast. Navy officials say a navy patrol spotted the rebel boats mingling with fishing boats. They say the rebel boats were filled with explosives.

The navy says it destroyed 22 rebel boats in a sea battle Thursday.

Before the latest outbreak of violence, the Sri Lankan government expressed regret for a deadly military attack on a refugee camp that killed at least 60 civilians.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it strongly regrets the loss of innocent life in the attack. It called on the Sri Lankan government to open an investigation into the incident.

Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern part of the country. More than 65,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The government and rebels called a truce in 2002, but subsequent peace talks have failed.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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