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Blast kills 90 Sri Lanka sailors

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- More than 90 Sri Lankan sailors were killed Monday afternoon when an explosives-laden truck rammed into their convoy, Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told CNN.

"These men were all unarmed. This is a deliberate barbaric terrorist attack," he said.

The incident took place , about 150 miles from Colombo in the central section of the island nation.

Naval personnel from the northeastern port city of Trincomalee were headed for leave. They were going to change buses at a transfer station with others who had just ended their leave.

Witnesses said bodies were strewn across the scene of the incident. A navy official accused Tamil Tiger rebels of carrying out the suicide attack.

The latest attack comes as foreign mediators struggle to keep alive the four-year old Norwegian-brokered cease-fire which has unraveled amid clashes that have killed at least 1,000 combatants and more than 100 civilians since July.

The Tamil rebels began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland in the north and east for Sri Lanka's largest ethnic minority. They have suffered defeats on both fronts in the recent escalation and vowed to retake land lost to the government forces.

Journalist Iqbal Athas contributed to this report.


The wreckage of a truck that exploded in Habarana.

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