Colombo: A Sri Lankan cargo vessel was "badly damaged" when the Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday carried a pre-dawn-suicide attack targeting two government merchant vessels off the Kankesanthurai harbour in the northern Jaffna peninsula, naval sources in Colombo said.
Navy spokesman Commander D K P Dassanayake said that three explosive-laden suicide boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) targeted merchant ships Ruhuna and Nimalawa, off Kankasanthurai (KKS) harbour at 5.10 am on Wednesday.
"One of the suicide boats has exploded in close proximity to Merchant Ship Nimalawa causing considerable damage to the ship's hull," Commander Dassanayake said, claiming that these two merchant vessels were deployed to transport essential supplies to the northern Jaffna peninsula.
He said that the sailors providing security on board the targeted vessels "have engaged machine gun fire at the approaching suicide boats effectively, and destroyed two of them before ramming on the ships".
He claimed that the third LTTE suicide craft had been captured by the navy. Further details were not known immediately. There was no immediate reaction from the rebels in this regard.