Sri Lanka Tiger air, land attack kills five

Oct 22, 2007 (AFP) – Five Sri Lankan airmen were killed as Tamil Tiger rebels launched an unprecedented air and land attack on a northern military base, officials and a pro-rebel website said on Monday. A 2002 truce brokered by Norway began to unravel in December 2005 and since then, thousands of people have killed and many more displaced as fighting in Asia’s longest-running civil war once progressively escalates. Rebels flying light aircraft bombed the Anuradhapura airbase under cover of darkness, killing one serviceman and wounding 18 others and damaging two stationary helicopter gunships, the defence ministry said.

Four other airmen were killed when a Bell 212 helicopter, flown in as back-up during the “heavy” assault, went down due to a technical fault, a ministry statement said.

“The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) have infiltrated the airbase and also dropped about two bombs on the airbase and damaged two Mi-24 helicopter gunships,” military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told AFP.

Other military sources said two fixed-wing planes parked at the base, 212 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Colombo, were hit.

The pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website said it was