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Lankan Air Force bombs LTTE airbase

The Air Force bombed the LTTE's fledgling airbase at Iranamadu, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: May 15, 2006 11:27 IST

The Sri Lankan Air Force on Thursday bombed the LTTE's fledgling airbase in Iranamadu in the Wanni, the Sri Lankan government said in a press statement on Friday.

The Iranamadu airbase was identified as an "illegal aviation facility under construction by the LTTE."

Iranamadu is not far from Kilinochchi, the political headquarters of the LTTE.

"The government on several occasions had brought to the attention of the international community at the highest level, the grave security threat posed by this illegal aviation facility not only to Sri Lanka but also to the region," the government statement said.  

"This facility also violated national and international civil aviation norms.".

"The SLMM have on several occasions attempted to inspect this facility and been denied access by the LTTE," the statement said.

The SLMM is the Scandinavian-staffed Sri Lanka Truce Monitoring Mission.

"The SLMM has ruled the LTTE's denying access to this facility as a violation of the CFA (Ceasefire Agreement)," the government said.

Interestingly, in a letter to the SLMM chief Maj Gen Ulf Henricsson on May 11, the LTTE's political wing leader, SP Tamilselvan, had said that the LTTE had a "military with an Army, Naval force and Air wing," even at the time of the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in February 2002.

The LTTE's Air Force has two small, twin engine propeller driven aircraft, according Iqbal Athas, the defence correspondent of the Colombo-based The Sunday Times.

Threat to India

The LTTE's naval and air force are believed to have caused concern in India also.

India had said that there was no scope for a "third navy" at India's southern doorstep.

As regards LTTE's air capability, a military expert had said that the rebel group could use aircraft to conduct suicide operations on the pattern of 9/11.