Four Tamil rebels killed, seven wounded in ambush by breakaway faction

Four Tamil Tiger rebels were killed and seven wounded when guerrillas from a breakaway faction attacked their convoy in eastern Sri Lanka, a Web site reported Tuesday. A car, truck and a motorcycle transporting Tamil Tigers were attacked in Vavunathivu, a rebel-controlled village of eastern Batticaloa district 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of Colombo, according to the Tamil National Force's Web site, which supports the breakaway guerrillas.

Police in the area confirmed the attack but couldn't verify the number of casualties.

The Tamil Tigers, however, denied the ambush took place.

"There is no such incident, it is not true," said Selvan, a Tiger contacted by telephone at the group's area office, who goes by one name.

No independent verification was possible.

Scores of people, Tamil Tigers, breakaway rebels and civilians supporting both factions, have been killed since a former eastern Tiger commander, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, broke away from the group with some 6,000 fighters in March 2004.

The mainstream guerrilla group crushed the renegades a month later. Many believe that Muralitharan is ordering attacks against the Tigers from his hide-out.

Tamil Tigers accuse the Sri Lankan military of harboring Muralitharan loyalists, a charge the government denies, reports the AP. I.L.

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