LTTE bombs Colombo, plane shot down (Fourth Lead)

February 21st, 2009 - 12:46 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 20 (IANS) Two Tamil Tiger planes bombed the Sri Lankan capital Friday night, but one of them was shot down as it flew back towards the country’s north, military officials said.

Two planes of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) dropped at least one bomb on the headquarters of the inland revenue department in the heart of Colombo.

There was no immediate word on casualties or damages.

The Sri Lankan Air Force headquarters is located close by, and some military officials said that may have been the intended target.

The two planes, believed to be Czech-built light aircraft, reportedly took off from an isolated airstrip in the northern region of Wanni, where the military has bottled up LTTE fighters in a 100-sq km area.

Military officials told IANS that troops from that region immediately alerted Colombo, where a high alert was sounded and the city was blacked out.

Residents reported that anti aircraft fire soon rang out in the city. Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara told IANS that two LTTE aircraft had entered Colombo airspace.

As the planes flew back, via Sri Lanka’s northwestern coast, one of them was shot down near Sri Lanka’s only international airport at Katunayake, about 40 km north of Colombo.

The officials said that the wreckage of the plane had been discovered,

This is the first time that the Sri Lankan military has succeeded in bringing down any aircraft of the LTTE, which is known to possess a handful of planes that have targeted Colombo in the past.


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