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Sri Lankan Navy Reports Sea Battle with Tamil Tigers

The Sri Lankan navy reports clashes with suspected Tamil Tiger boats off the island's northwestern coast.

Military sources confirmed that the Sri Lankan navy and air force sank three rebel boats Saturday in a sea battle near Mannar district. They said four sailors were wounded.

Hours later, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels attacked an army truck in the northern Sri Lankan district of Vavuniya, killing at least three soldiers and wounding 15 civilians.

The incidents come two days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the rebels to help end decades of bloodshed by surrendering their arms and returning to the negotiating table.

The two sides signed a ceasefire in 2002 in an attempt to stop violence that has killed tens of thousands of people over the past two decades.

The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland since 1983. They say the Tamil ethnic minority needs its own place because the Sinhalese majority discriminates against it.

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