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LTTE air power has collapsed: officials

world Updated: Feb 23, 2009 00:53 IST

The LTTE's air power has almost collapsed after two rebel aircraft, which entered the Colombo sky to carry out a suicide mission, were destroyed by the security forces, officials said on Sunday.

"I do not think the LTTE has any more aircraft left. The two planes took off from a restricted air strip in Pudukudirippu and came to Colombo through Mankulam and Mannar," the officials said. They also added that they were detected on time failing which the damage to Colombo could have been quite high.

When contacted Military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said the defence authorities had estimated the LTTE to have three aircraft of which one was destroyed a few months ago and the other two on Friday.

The defence authorities had claimed that the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) destroyed the first aircraft on September 9 when the LTTE carried out an air and ground attack on the air force base in Vavuniya.

In the Friday's attack, two light aircraft of the beleaguered LTTE had bombed Colombo, hitting the main Revenue Department building near Air Force Headquarters and killing at least two persons and injuring 55 others before being shot down.

Nanayakkara said that each plane carried 215 kilograms of C4 explosives.