Sri Lanka says war plan going ahead despite air force debacle

Oct 24, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s top defence official vowed Wednesday to push ahead with operations against the Tamil Tiger rebels, who launched a devastating attack on a key air force base earlier this week. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told the government’s main website that the deadly raid by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the air base would not alter the army’s plans.

He “assured that Monday’s attack on the Anuradhapura camp would not in any way upset planned military operations against the LTTE terrorists and their bases in the Wanni,” the website said, referring to the rebels’ mini-state.

The official, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, appealed to the opposition “not to play politics” at the expense of the security forces as the war enters a “decisive stage,” according to the site, www.news.lk.

“Under-estimating the military leadership or their commitment would only help the enemy who is now desperate at this juncture,” he said.

The remarks came as the opposition United National Party (UNP) said 18 aircraft were lost in the rebel suicide attack against the military’s main logistics base.

The government has officially admitted losing one