Tamil Tigers make air strike at naval base in Sri Lanka (Lead)

August 27th, 2008 - 12:54 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 26 (IANS) A light aircraft of the Liberation Tamil Tiger rebels carried out an air raid Tuesday night targeting a key naval base in Sri Lanka’s eastern port city of Trincomalee and dropping at least two bombs, defence sources here said.”LTTE terrorist have carried out an abortive air raid attempt at the naval base Trincomalee short while ago. According to the available information, the terror aircraft have dropped two improvised bombs and fled the area,” the defence ministry said in a report around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

It did not divulge any other detail about the night air raid.

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 towards the air.

Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told IANS that an LTTE light-wing air craft dropped two bombs between 9 and 9.15 p.m. Tuesday on the Trincomalee dockyard area.

“Both the bombs have exploded, but there was no damage to properties. No one was injured or killed due to these blasts,” Brig. Nanayakkara said, adding that the anti-aircraft system was immediately activated, resulting in the LTTE aircraft to abort their mission.

“Interceptor aircraft of the Air Force have pursued the LTTE aircraft and the details are not immediately known,” he said.

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

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

This is also the fifth LTTE air attack and all the five times the rebel aircraft managed to escape after the attacks.

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

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