03/26/2007, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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First air strike by Tamil Tigers

The military base adjacent to Colombo’s international airport was struck over night: 3 killed and 16 injured. The Tamil Tigers’ military objective was to stop the military’s bombing of the Tamil areas; military sources claim they wanted to strike the military’s newly acquired MIGs. None were damaged.
Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Tamil Tiger rebels launched today their first air strike. Their objective: an air base near Colombo. They Defence Ministry communicated that three airmen had been killed and 16 wounded. Sources from the separatist rebels sustain that the operation was carried out by two airplanes that launched bombs on the base adjacent to the international airport. The aeronautical spokesperson, Ajantha Silva, only spoke about one light airplane and that it was the first air strike by Tamil Tiger rebels.
 
According to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Ltte), the raid was aimed at interrupting the “indiscriminative bombing of the Tamil areas (north and east of the country), by the Sri Lankan government. The LTTE spokesperson, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, warned that “there military bases will be attacked in the country”. Government sources in Colombo claim the Tamil’s objective is to destroy the MIGs recently purchased by the government, but they were not damaged.
National press agencies said that following the attack, the international airport was closed and flights were interrupted. The news was denied by the military spokesperson, Prasad Samarasinghe, who claims it is in normal working conditions.
 
The LTTE’s military had already attacked the same military base in 2001, destroying half of the Sri Lankan fleet. In the last few weeks, tension has been rising between the rebels and the government forces who have been fighting for the past 20 years. The Tigers are asking for independence from the north and east areas of the country. Until the 2002 cease-fire, valid only on paper, the civil war has claimed the lives of over 25,000.
 
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