Tigers launch air, ground attack on Anuradhapura air base
[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 October 2007, 23:47 GMT]
Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) launched an air and ground attack on Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) air base at Saliyapura in Anuradhapura in the early hours of Monday, Liberation Tigers Military Spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan told TamilNet. Meanwhile, military sources in Colombo said two Russian built MI-24 helicopter gunships have been destroyed in the attack launched between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. A pilot, his co-pilot and two engineers who took off from the air base, were killed when their Bell 212 helicopter crashed at Doramadalawa, 13 km east of Anuradhapura, in Mihintale area. An indefinite curfew has been clamped in Anuradhapura. Residents have been asked to stay indoors.
Military Spokesperson of the Tigers, Mr. Irasaiah Ilanthirayan (Marshall)
This is the first time the Tigers have combined both air and ground attack in a raid.
Continuous explosions were heard inside the airbase from 3:30 a.m. according to Sinhala civilians in the area. The attack was continuing, after 5:00 a.m.
14 wounded Sri Lankan military personnel have been admitted at the Anuradhapura hospital, according to medical sources.
The military base in Anuradhapura is the largest military installation in the military supply route between Colombo and Vavunniyaa. It is situated in the North Central Province, 46 km south of Vavuniyaa and 168 km northeast of Colombo.
Sri Lankan police urged all residents to stay indoors as the Sri Lankan military prepared to launch a search operation in the area after imposing an indefinite curfew in Anuradhapura District Secretariat division.
Meanwhile, a SLAF reconnaissance aircraft was observed circling over K'linochchi. Three Kfir fighter jets of the SLAF were also flown over Vanni around 5:00 a.m.