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Mine Blast Kills 7 Sri Lankan Soldiers - 2001-10-24


A land mine explosion in Sri Lanka has killed at least seven soldiers. Sri Lankan military officials say Tamil rebels were responsible for the blast Wednesday in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

Officials in Colombo say a rebel land mine destroyed a military truck traveling on a main road in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The attack, about 300 kilometers north of the capital, Colombo, killed several soldiers and one Sri Lankan officer. Military officials say he is highest-ranking officer killed this year.

Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamil population since 1983. They regularly use claymore mines, which can be remotely detonated, to attack Sri Lankan troops. A pro-rebel internet website says Wednesday's mine was hung on a wall along the roadside.

The Tigers accuse the government of using the same tactics to kill several high-ranking rebels this year, but the government says those assassinations were carried out by other Tamil factions.

More than 64,000 people who have died during Sri Lanka's civil war. Analysts here expect elections scheduled for December to prompt an increase in the levels of violence both inside and outside the island's war zones.