Colombo, Sri Lanka A suspected separatist rebel boat carrying explosives blew up on Saturday, apparently killing at least four men on board, a Sri Lankan defense official said.
Navy patrol crafts spotted a suspicious fishing vessel and went to investigate in the sea of Talaimannar, 155 miles northwest of Colombo, when it exploded, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said.
"Definitely there would have been explosives, otherwise there wouldn't have been such a big blast," he said.
He said the boat was believed to belong to the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
At least four men were seen on board the vessel and all are believed to be dead, Samarasinghe said, adding one navy sailor was injured in the blast.
Daya Master, a rebel spokesman, declined comment on the explosion.
The incident comes as the government and Tamil Tiger rebels prepare to attend peace talks in Switzerland to try to save a four-year-old cease-fire which has come under threat recently because of frequent violence.