B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has reportedly told his Sri Lankan counterpart Rathnasiri Wickramanayake, presently on a four-day visit to Israel, not to “give in to terrorism because it will only bring destruction to your country,” a statement said.

It quoted Mr. Wickramanayake, Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister to visit Israel, as saying in Jerusalem that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was maintaining strong relations with terrorist groups such as PKK and some affiliates of the dreaded Al-Qaeda. On the current situation in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wickramanayake said: “The black Tigers are responsible for suicide operations and have perfected suicide bombings and assassinations. It is generally believed that they learnt it from some Palestinian groups.” Mr. Wickremanayake has held talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. He will also meet Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Air Force on Wednesday claimed to have destroyed two identified LTTE targets in the north amid claims and counter claims of intense fighting along the Forward Defence Lines.

The military claimed that 11 civilians from Kilinochchi district were rescued by the Navy and brought to Punkuduthivu islet after they were found drifting in a dinghy in waters south of Delft on Tuesday. It said they had fled Kilinochchi seeking protection of the security forces after undergoing “unprecedented suffering” at the hands of the LTTE. They were reportedly forced to labour for long hours at LTTE bunker construction sites.