Sri Lankan jets bomb rebel headquartersOctober 2nd, 2008 - 10:29 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Oct 2 (IANS) Supersonic ground attack fighters of the Sri Lankan Air Force Thursday bombed the headquarters of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the north as government troops advanced further towards the rebels’ “administrative capital” of Kilinochchi, defence authorities said.
Claiming that the target was “the LTTE’s military headquarters complex in Kilinochchi”, the defence ministry said it was bombed on real-time ground intelligence “on a meeting of senior LTTE cadres at the location”.
“Fighter jets launched from Katunayake (air base) carried out the air strike at 12.40 p.m. targeting the LTTE headquarters, located two km northeast of Kilinochchi town. The LTTE has maintained the targeted camp complex as its main military coordinating centre,” the ministry said.
However, the Tamil Tiger rebels, in an email to the media Thursday evening charged that their peace secretariat and political head office were damaged in the aerial raid.
“Sri Lankan Air force targeted the LTTE peace secretariat and the political head office in Kilinochchi today. In this attack, which took place around 12.45 p.m., two civilians were killed and another five injured while they were passing on the nearby road,” the LTTE email claimed.
According to pro-rebel websites, the rebel leadership in the past has used both the offices to receive and hold meetings with Norwegian peace brokers and foreign diplomats when the February 2002 ceasefire agreement was in force.
However, air force sources denied the LTTE claims and said that the air raid was carried out in support of the advancing ground troops.
The military said last week that the troops advancing from various directions were just four kilometers away from Kilinochchi town, located about 350 km north of here, and were determined to capture it in the near future.
The LTTE has been fighting against the Sri Lankan government for the past three decades to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the northern and eastern part of the island.
Thousands have died in fighting between the LTTE and the military since late 2005.