Sri Lankan military officials say their navy sank a suspected Tamil Tiger trawler Sunday, killing at least four people.
Authorities said navy patrol boats off Mannar in northwestern Sri Lanka ordered the trawler to stop before it fired on the government boats.
The navy responded with heavy fire, sinking the trawler. Officials say three navy sailors were wounded.
A military spokesman said the trawler exploded in a huge ball of fire, leading authorities to suspect it was hauling fuel or munitions.
Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east.
More than 2,000 people have been killed in the area this year, despite a truce signed in 2002.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.