Sri Lankan war planes bomb suspected LTTE base

April 7th, 2008 - 11:42 am ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, April 7 (IANS) Sri Lankan ground attack war jets Monday bombed a suspected Black Tiger base in the Wanni, a day after a top minister was killed along with 13 others in a suicide attack outside capital Colombo. Sri Lanka defence ministry said that “based on the information gathered through air surveillances and ground intelligence sources”, the supersonic fighter jets bombed a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Black Tiger base located in the northwest of Mankulam, around 6.15 a.m.

“The pilots confirm that the target was achieved accurately,” said Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Andi Wijesooriya.

The dreaded LTTE suicide cadres are also known as Black Tigers.

Russian-built MI-24 gunship helicopters also conducted air attacks targeting the LTTE bunker lines south of Muhamalai in the northern Jaffna peninsula Monday.

“The air attacks were launched to assist ground troops, engaged in limited offensive operations in the area and to disrupt the LTTE formations,” the Air Force spokesperson said, adding the damages caused to the LTTE during these air raids were yet to be known.

On Sunday, an LTTE suicide bomber blew himself up killing Minister of Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and 13 others, in Waliweriya in the western province, about 50 km from here.

At least 90 people were also wounded in the explosion minutes before the start of a traditional marathon race where the minister was the chief guest.

Fernandopulle, 55, a confidant of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, held many ministerial portfolios, including those of Catholic affairs, ethnic integration and national unity as well as port and aviation after entering parliament in 1983.

President Rajapaksa condemned the killing of his senior cabinet minister, calling it as “an act of savagery” of the Tamil Tiger rebels, and said such attacks “will not weaken” his government’s resolve to wipe out terrorism from the island nation.

A lawyer by profession, Fernandopulle is the second minister assassinated since January this year, when the Rajapaksa government pulled out of the Norway-brokered ceasefire agreement signed with the LTTE in February 2002.

The state funeral of the late minister is to take place Thursday.

There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE, which has never claimed or accepted responsibility for any such attacks.

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