Sri Lanka shuts airport fearing Tiger attack

April 27, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops fearing a rebel attack fired anti-aircraft weapons and evacuated passengers from the international airport here late Thursday, an official said.

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Sri Lankan troops fired anti-aircraft weapons, evacuated passengers and briefly shut the international airport here Thursday night fearing a Tamil Tiger air raid, officials said.

Airport officials said they were asked to shut down the runway and all incoming flights were diverted to neighbouring India following reports rebel attack planes were approaching.
Two Sri Lankan Airlines flights were re-directed to Chennai in southern India, officials said. The airline said there would be delays following the scare.

A military helicopter gunship sent to check the reports was forced to make a crash landing due to a technical problem, but the pilots managed to bail out, official sources said.

Troops at the military base, which was attacked by Tamil Tiger rebels a month ago, fired anti-aircraft weapons, a senior government official said.

“The firing lasted a few minutes foll