V.S. Sambandan

Five Sea Tigers arrested; two of them bite cyanide capsules and are hospitalised

LTTE warns Colombo of retaliatory attacks Reiterates non-involvement in passenger bus attack

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan security forces on Saturday said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) planned to attack naval craft patrolling the western shore with "magnetic sea mines" but the attempt was foiled following a tip-off from civilians.

According to the police and the Navy, two Sea Tigers were found moving suspiciously near a beach on the outskirts of Colombo.

An explosion was heard from the sea, and when naval patrol boats approached the area, three more Sea Tigers were apprehended, the Navy said.

This led to the arrest of five Sea Tigers, two of whom bit cyanide capsules and were hospitalised.

Investigations are on and "it has been confirmed that they are Sea Tigers," the Government said.

In another development, the LTTE's political wing leader, S.P. Tamilselvan, requested the Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the peace facilitator, Norway, "to convey a strong warning to Colombo of possible retaliation" to "provocative aerial bombing and artillery fire towards LTTE territory," a report in the TamilNet said.

Mr. Tamilselvan also "condemned the hastily issued statements by some countries, without understanding the complex issues on the ground, accusing the LTTE" for Thursday's Claymore attack on a passenger bus in which 64 civilians were killed and 84 injured.

The report quoted Mr. Tamilselvan as saying that the "Sri Lankan Government is responding irresponsibly in targeting civilian areas in the aerial raids" and that the "Tamil leadership has forwarded a stern warning to Colombo that the LTTE would be forced to retaliate."