Friday, February 20, 2009

Tamil Tigers attack Colombo

Word just in that the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, came under attack from two Tamil Tiger aircraft around 1600h GMT (1100h ET), and the BBC reports that both aircraft were downed. Both pilots died from the crashes, as well as at least one person on the ground. Some forty are said to have been injured as a result of the attack, which the website TamilNet seems to indicate was aimed at the Sri Lankan Air Force headquarters.

The military campaign that has been waged of late by the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government has severely undermined the military capabilities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and this aerial attack was clearly unexpected. There have been a number of previous aerial attacks the Tigers have launched in the past, but this particular incident is a bit of an embarrassment for the Sri Lankan government, which has appeared to have destoryed all major Tiger bases in the north of the island. Where these two aircraft sortied from is unknown.

This attack comes a day after the Sri Lankan military captured diving equipment and underwater scooters in the northeastern village of Ampalavanpokkanai; the Defence Ministry is quoted by AFP as saying the gear was for use by suicide bombers. And this all comes three weeks after government forces captured a crude submarine and several small surface craft that had been part of the Sea Tiger fleet.

This marks the first effort by the Tigers to strike back at the government in the south. Should the Sea Tigers have any remaining assests hidden somewhere on the island, you can expect they'll follow suit with their own attack on the seas.

The Sea Tiger semi-submersible shown below was captured on January 29. There are a number of other photos on the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence website.

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