Sri Lankan troops attacked in Jaffna despite temporary cease-fire
Sat January 28, 2006 22:46 EST .
DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan troops came under attack attack twice in the rebel-dominated Jaffna peninsula, leaving one soldier dead despite a temporary cease-fire called last week, a military official and a pro-guerrilla Web site reported Sunday.
The Defense Ministry blamed ``terrorists'' for the attacks on Saturday, but did not single out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam by name. The guerrilla group, fighting to curve out a separate homeland for Sri Lanka - 's 3.2 million Tamils, is banned in the United States and neighboring India as terrorist organization.
In the first attack along the road that links Jaffna with the Point Pedro sea port, Sri Lankan soldiers came under gunfire from attackers hiding behind a building.
In another attack, in the hamlet of Chulipuram, one soldier was wounded when attackers hurled a grenade a military patrol.
The areas were cordoned off and a search operation was ordered, said Samarasinghe. No other details were immediately available.
The attacks follows last week's agreement between the government and the rebels on Wednesday to cease all hostilities and prepare for a new round of peace talks to be held in mid-February in Switzerland.
That agreement, brokered by Norwegian envoy Eric Solheim, came after weeks of violence, most of which was blamed on the Tamil Tigers, who have fought since 1983 for a Tamil homeland.
The Tigers also accused the government of backing the assassination on Thursday of a senior rebel officer.
Seevaratnam Puleedevan, a top rebel peace negotiator, said the killing of the rebel officer which the government denies involvement in throws into question Colombo's commitment to restart the talks that have been stalled since April 2003.
``Our leadership is very disturbed, as this is a very serious incident,'' he said, according to the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site.
Puleedevan blamed the attack on ``paramilitary cadres (backed by) Sri Lankan armed forces.''
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Published: Sun Jan 29 03:08:21 EST 2006