Sri Lanka Tigers damage two helicopter gunships in assault

Oct 22, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels launched an air and ground assault under cover of darkness on an air force base in the north central Anurahapura region, damaging two helicopter gunships and wounding at least eight troops in the early hours of Monday. The Tigers destroyed or damaged 26 commercial and military aircraft.

An air force spokesman said a Bell 212 helicopter flying over Mihintale near Anuradhapura made a forced landing killing the four-man crew also Monday morning.

The attack on the Anuradhapura air base, 212 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Colombo, started around 3 a.m. Monday morning with a group of Tigers infiltrating the base.

This was followed by a Tiger light aircraft dropping two bombs on the base and escaping despite anti-aircraft fire by the defenders.

The air force spokesman said at least eight air force troops have been wounded in the attack.

Two Mi-24 attack helicopters were damaged in the attack.

No further details of casualties or damage were immediately available.

The spokesman said troops had launched a clearing operation after the Tiger attack.

In a separate incident an air force Bell 212 aircraft made a forced landing in Mihintale, to the east of Anuradhapura, killing