Sri Lanka blackout on Air Force losses

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 March 2007, 22:24 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s President held an emergency meeting of the country’s security leadership Monday as the government imposed a total blackout on the Liberation Tigers' bombing raid on Katunayake, the island’s main airbase in the early hours. Whilst the government says only two helicopter gunships were slightly damaged, airmen coming off duty told reporters in Colombo that several SLAF jet bombers were put out of action by fierce fires which broke out in the hangars struck by the LTTE aircraft. Up to 40% of the SLAF’s strike capability has been knocked out, they said.

Residents near the airbase which shares a runway with the island’s sole international airport said security had been greatly increased in the area.

During the day Monday journalists were kept away from the airbase by heavily armed air force troops who searched surrounding areas with dogs.

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) officials who attempted to visit the Air Force base Monday to initiate inquiries into the attack were refused access to the site by top Air Force officials, an SLMM spokesman told the Daily Mirror.

SLMM spokesman Thorfinur Omarsson said the monitors however managed to visit the injured at the Negombo hospital and would make another attempt to visit the air base Tuesday stressing it was important that access is granted for the monitors to rule on the incident.

Meanwhile, only two propeller-driven Pucara ground attack aircraft and a seaplane took off from Katunayake all day Monday.

A significant section of the SLAF’s jet bomber fleet, including several Israeli-made Kfirs are based at Katunayake.

At least six Kfirs were housed in the hangers bombed by two LTTE aircraft in the early hours Monday.

The LTTE bombs had triggered fires and secondary explosions in the hangars, airmen who came off duty Monday told reporters.

The Sri Lankan government has played down the attack saying only two bombs dropped by the LTTE aircraft exploded.

But several press reports in the early hours quoted residents being woken by at least four loud blasts followed by gunfire.

Tourists in the international terminal speaking to international agencies also reported a series of loud explosions amid gunfire.

In an analysis comment for, B. Raman, a former counter-terrorism chief of India’s intelligence service, RAW, said that the LTTE airstrike had damaged or destroyed several aircraft.

“Two helicopters, reportedly given by Pakistan, were badly damaged. There was also some damage to the Israeli aircraft of the Sri Lankan Air Force,” he wrote.

The bombing raid by two LTTE aircraft coincided with a Gala musical function being held by Sri Pagnananda Maha Vidyalaya school, located 2 km west of the airport.

Students were lighting firecrackers at the event, which was being attended by several airmen, when the bombs had struck the airbase.

Indiscriminate firing by panicked security personnel in the wake of the explosions had led to a number of friendly fire incidents, with casualties, airmen also said.

External Links:
SAAG:  LTTE'S air strike---An Assessment By B. Raman
SAAG: LTTE's Air Strike on Air Force base by B. Raman
SAAG: LTTE air raid on Katunayake Air Base


Latest 15 Reports
20.10.17 07:02  
Jaffna University students boycott classes against manipulative justice of genocidal Sri Lanka
19.10.17 17:11   Photo
Sirisena disappoints student leaders, Cooray humiliates families of hunger-striking prisoners
18.10.17 23:45  
Eastern Provincial Land authority discriminates Tamils
17.10.17 18:46   Photo
Paramilitary operative employed at Cooray's secretariat in Jaffna harasses public servants
16.10.17 07:15   Photo
UN Refugee agency ignorant of stranded Tamil refugees in Indonesia
15.10.17 19:12  
Tamil fisherman rammed by intruding Sinhala fishermens’ boat, fishing disputes escalate in Jaffna
14.10.17 07:34   Photo
Tamil protesters confront Maithiripala Sirisena in Jaffna
13.10.17 17:40   Photo
North at standstill, Sampanthan not to accompany Sirisena to Jaffna
12.10.17 23:35  
SL military postpones land release for 2 years as UN awarded Colombo with 2 more years in Geneva
11.10.17 23:48   Photo
20 Tamil organisations to lay siege to SL Governor's office on Friday
10.10.17 22:05   Photo
SL ‘Manipulative Justice’ exposed once again in Tamil political prisoners’ case: Sivapalan
09.10.17 22:09  
Protests gain momentum as hunger-striking political prisoners’ health deteriorates
08.10.17 23:00   Photo
SL constitutional discourse seen coupled with ‘Vision 2025’ policy of genocidal Sri Lanka
07.10.17 23:21  
Colombo brings Sinhala private partnerships to wage structural genocide in Vanni
06.10.17 23:22  
Uprooted Tamils face ultimatum on proving land ownership in strategic Kokku’laay
Find this article at: