Incident Summary:

03/24/1997: A flotilla of boats staffed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked a navy fleet off the coast from Mullaitivu town. AT least 80 rebels were killed and a minimum of 50 were injured in the attack. 12 rebel boats were sunk, while two navy vessels were damaged. Four suicide cadre were killed when their two boats were destroyed. One navy sailor was killed and another eight were injured. The rebels state that, in total, only five of their members were killed, including the four suicide cadres.



Sri Lanka

South Asia

region/u.s. state:


Mullaitivu district

Location Details:
25 kilometres (15 miles) off the coast of Mullaitivu

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Military
Name of Entity Sri Lankan Navy
Specific Description Navy personnel on a routine patrol
Nationality of Target Sri Lanka
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Vehicle
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
Four suicide bombers
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) No
Additional Information Sources differ in the number of wounded and dead.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Other)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 81 Fatalities / 58 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 81
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 80
Total Number of Injured 58
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 50
"Sri Lanka Tigers admit losing suicide cadres in sea battle," Agence France-Presse, March 25, 1997.
"Sri Lanka navy sinks Tamil rebel flotilla, 80 Tigers killed," Agence France-Presse, March 24, 1997.
Amal Jayasinghe, "Sri Lanka navy destroys Tiger flotilla, toll hits 100," Agence France-Presse, March 24, 1997.