Sri Lankan officials say eight government troops have been killed by a land mine explosion in the north of the country.

Officials say suspected Tamil rebels detonated the land mine Thursday, as a Sri Lankan navy convoy passed through the northern district of Vavuniya. The blast destroyed a navy bus, killing at least eight sailors.

Dozens of Sri Lankan troops have died in attacks blamed on Tamil rebels in recent weeks. The violence has severely strained a cease-fire agreed by the two sides in 2002.

The rebels have threatened to resume their armed struggle unless the government gives them a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the country.

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