10 hurt in LTTE air attack on key naval base in Trincomalee

August 27th, 2008 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 27 (IANS) At least 10 Sri Lankan Navy sailors were wounded when Tamil Tiger rebels air-dropped two bombs on a key naval base in Sri Lanka’s eastern port city of Trincomalee, defence authorities said Wednesday.The attack, from a lightwing aircraft, took place late Tuesday.

Military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had used a lightwing aircraft to drop two bombs between 9 p.m. and 9.15 p.m. on the Trincomalee dockyard area.

He said the anti-aircraft system in and around the area had been immediately activated, resulting in the LTTE aborting the mission and flying back to its hideout in the rebel-held Wanni region.

“Interceptor aircraft of the air force have pursued the LTTE aircraft and the details are not immediately known,” Nanayakkara told IANS.

In its update Wednesday morning, the defence ministry said in a statement that two improvised bombs had been dropped on the navy camp. “Only one out of two bombs has exploded. Ten sailors suffered injuries due to the explosion.”

There was no word from the LTTE regarding their fresh air attack.

People in the area heard at least two huge blasts Tuesday night followed by firing by security force personnel from various points in the area. They said security had been visibly stepped up in and around Trincomalee town after the night raid.

This is the first attack by the LTTE’s air wing in 10 months and takes place amid fierce fighting in the northern Wanni region between advancing government troops and the rebels.

The military, which captured the northwestern Mannar district last month, has declared that advancing troops were now operating just 12 km away from the rebel heartland of Kilinochchi.

The last LTTE air attack was in October last year when at least two LTTE aircraft targeted a key air force base in north-central Anuradhapura district to assist a ground ambush team of 21 LTTE suicide cadres.

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