Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) light aircraft bombed locations in Mannar and Colombo a short while ago. According to our information bombs have fallen near Thalladi, Mannar where a Sri Lanka Army base is located. At least 1 soldiers was injured in the attack in Mannar.
Meanwhile the air defense system was activated in Colombo and parts of the city was placed under a blackout upon detection of a suspicious aircraft at around 10.45PM. LTTE aircraft managed to drop at least one bomb near Kelanathissa power plant. Resulting explosion triggered a fire which caused damages to parts of the coolant system connected a gas turbine which was currently not in operation. Power supply to other parts of the country continued without interruption.
Reports of smoke and explosions from other areas such as Colombo Harbor and the Kerawalapitiya plant are due to the air defense system being activated. There were no LTTE attacks on any of these locations.
Rebel air raids hit Sri Lankan capital
Sri Lanka’s rebel Tamil Tigers, hemmed in by a major military offensive, showed they still have the teeth to bite back with air raids on a power plant in Colombo and a military base in the northeast.
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) light aircraft struck against both targets late Tuesday, the defence ministry said.
The raids — the first by the rebels in six weeks — left one person dead and three soldiers wounded, but caused only minor damage
The attacks came as security forces pressed on with a powerful anti-LTTE offensive in the northeast of the island aimed at capturing the town of Kilinochchi, which has served as the Tigers’ political capital for the past decade.
It was not immediately clear how many planes were involved but previous rebel air raids have used just one or two aircraft.
The LTTE first bombed an army facility in Mannar district, about 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Colombo, where the military maintain some of their artillery and gun positions.
“Three bombs were dropped by LTTE aircraft over a military camp,” military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told AFP. “Three soldiers sustained minor injuries.”
The rebels then targetted a state-run power plant situated in the outskirts of Colombo, dropping two bombs that killed one person.
The authorities blacked out the capital during the raid and the night sky lit up with anti-aircraft fire.
The ministry described the air raids as an “abortive” operation that had failed to impact the intended targets.
“The entire power plant remains intact and functions as usual, although the power supply was disconnected as a precautionary measure during the time of the abortive aerial attack,” the ministry said.
Officials from the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board said two turbines had caught fire, but the Colombo fire brigade had brought the blaze under control.
Following the strikes, air force fighter jets flew search missions over the rebel-controlled areas of Kilinochchi, Viswamadu and Iranamadu, the military said.
Ajai Sahni, executive director of India’s Institute of Conflict Management said the raids, though small, had a symbolic value.
“These airborne attacks clearly show the Tigers are not going to curl up and surrender while the military tries to drive them out of Kilinochchi,” Sahni said.
The Tigers last carried out an air and ground attack on a military camp in the northern town of Vavuniya in September, killing 11 soldiers. The military said it shot down one of the rebel planes — a charge the rebels denied.
The rebels are believed to operate five Czech-built Zlin-143 aircraft smuggled onto the island in pieces and re-assembled. Satellite images have shown that they have more than one airstrip inside areas under their control.
The rudimentary air force made its first appearance in March 2007, with a strike on the military air base inside Colombo’s international airport
Tuesday’s bombing was the second to target the capital. In April 2007, the Tigers bombed oil installations on the outskirts of Colombo, causing some damage.
The Tiger air attacks came as government forces stepped up their own air strikes against the guerrillas inside their de facto mini-state in the north.
But monsoon rains and intense rebel resistance have slowed the military’s ground offensive, according to military sources.
“The LTTE will continue to strike back, even after they are fully defeated. They are not going to abruptly disappear, as the government would like the public to believe,” Sahni told AFP.
Tens of thousands of people have died since the LTTE launched a separatist campaign in 1972 to carve out a homeland for minority Tamils.