2ND LEAD (UPDATE)
SLN Dvora, hovercraft sunk in major naval clash - Sea Tigers
[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 November 2008, 02:53 GMT]
Naval flotillas of the Sea Tigers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) engaged in a major clash with the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) gunships in the seas off Naakarkoayil in Vadamaraadchi East Saturday morning from 5:15 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., sinking an SLN Dvora Fast Attack Craft (FAC) and a hovercraft. Sea Tiger officials told TamilNet that SLN engaged 20 vessels in the clash, but it was forced to withdraw after suffering casualties. Seven Black Sea Tigers laid down their lives in the operation, the Tigers said.
A water-jet vessel of the SLN sustained damage in the sea battle.
The SLN was forced to withdraw, towing the damaged vessel, to Kaangkeasanthu'rai (KKS) naval base.
The Tigers said their Sea Tiger commandos reached their base, after defeating the SLN.
Sri Lanka Army has launched heavy artillery barrage across the Northern Front following the sea battle, which was reported off Kudaththanai coast.
Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers also attacked the coastal area.