Tigers bombs Lankan Air Force base, three helicopters damaged

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Colombo, Oct 22 (UNI) The Tamil Tiger rebels attacked an Sri Lankan Air Force base today at the North-Central Anuradhapura district both by land and air, damaging at least two MI-24 helicopters, the military said.

A group of LTTE cadres have infiltrated the Anuradhapura SLAF Base and launched the initial attack around 0320 hrs local time. A few minutes later at least two LTTE light aircrafts carried out an air attack on the base, destroying two MI-24 helicopters, Military Spokesman Brigadier Uthaya Nanayakkara said UNI over the phone.

The LTTE aircraft believed to have come from the northern Vavuniya direction and dropped at least two bombs on the Air Force base before escaping from the scene, Brigadier Nanayakkara said.

He said another Bell 212 helicopter which was coming from the Vavuniya Sri Lankan Air Force base aiming to engage the LTTE cadres attacking the Air Force base was forcely landed at Mihintale due to the technical failure and prevailing bad weather.

This could have also been damaged because it was forced landed at Mihintale, located a few kilometres north of Anuradhapura, Brigadier Nanayakkara said, adding the armed forces and the police are conducting a massive joint operation to bring the situation under control.

Anuradhapura is an ancient sacred Buddhist city attracting thousands of local and foreign tourist right throughout the year.

This is the fifth time that the LTTE light wing aircraft carried out air attack this year. The last attack was carried out on, April 28, in Colombo targeting oil and gas supply stations.

Subsequent to the LTTE's April air strike, the government said it has acquired anti-aircraft systems and guns and vowed to destroy the LTTE air force completely.

There were no immediate reactions came from the LTTE in this regard.

UNI

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