sri lanka 298.88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Tamil Tiger rebels rammed a truck loaded with explosives into a naval convoy in central Sri Lanka on Monday, killing at least 92 sailors and wounding 60 others, the military said, in one of the deadliest rebel attacks since the 2002 cease-fire.
"All these people were without weapons and were going on leave," military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said.
Samarasinghe said the attack happened near the town of Dambulla, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo, when the rebels rammed a small truck loaded with explosives into a convoy of military buses.
The attack comes as a Japanese envoy held talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse Monday amid intensified efforts to strengthen the peace process between the government and rebels ahead of scheduled talks between the two sides later this month in Switzerland.
It was not immediately clear what impact the attack would have on those talks. There was no immediate comment from the rebels on the attack, although they routinely deny their involvement.
Norwegian peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was also scheduled to return to the island this week, while US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Richard Boucher will make a two-day visit to Sri Lanka starting Thursday.
The flurry of diplomatic activity comes after some of the bloodiest fighting since a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire was signed in 2002, temporarily ending nearly two decades of civil war. Heavy battles last Wednesday on the northern Jaffna Peninsula left hundreds of combatants dead, despite commitments by both the government and rebels to return to the negotiating table.
Fighting has left about 2,000 people dead this year, according to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, set up to oversee the cease-fire.
The Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east, citing decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. About 65,000 people were killed before the 2002 cease-fire.