LTTE air strikes cannot change military balance: Sri Lanka

August 28th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 28 (IANS) Sri Lanka Thursday brushed aside threats posed by the Tamil Tigers’ air wing and said that aerial attacks by the guerrillas “cannot change the current military balance strategically”.Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made the remarks at a media briefing, shortly after accompanying Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to a meeting at the foreign ministry with Colombo-based diplomats to explain the security situation in the country.

At least 10 Sri Lankan sailors were wounded when a light wing aircraft of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) dropped at least two bombs on a key naval base in Sri Lanka’s eastern port city of Trincomalee Tuesday night.

“Strategically these air attacks cannot change the current military balance. Of course, it creates some sort of psychological effect, but nothing drastically,” Rajapaksa, a younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told reporters.

“It (LTTE air power) is not a problem for us. We will take care of it,” he added.

The LTTE claimed that the target Tuesday was the naval headquarters in Trincomalee. The rebels also released photographs of their elusive leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in a camouflage military fatigue, talking to the crew members of his air wing after the night air attack.

It was the fifth LTTE air attack. All five times the aircraft have managed to return safely to their bases in the rebel-held northern Wanni region.

Commenting on the military campaign in the north, where government troops are fighting the LTTE, Rajapaksa said the operations “are going on perfectly according to the plans and expectations”.

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