COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Suspected Tamil rebels launched a surprise attack in the eastern Ampara region today, killing six Sri Lankan police commandos, police and military officials said.

Details of the attack were not immediately available but a military official in Colombo, the capital, said the army suspected the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist group, was behind the attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The attack took place at Karativa, about 160 miles east of Colombo.

The rebels are fighting for an independent homeland for the minority Tamils who say they face discrimination in Sinhalese-majority Sri Lanka. More than 58,000 people have died in the 16-year insurrection.