February 21, 2009 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels who staged a suicide air raid on Sri Lanka’s capital used a pocket torch to navigate, but their planes were packed with high explosives, military officials said Saturday. One of the Tigers’ two light aircraft was shot down before it could hit its intended target — the main airforce base at Katunayaka — the military said.
A military source said a search of the wreckage found that the pilot had no night vision equipment to fly in pitch darkness and instead used a pocket torch and a hand-held global positioning device.
“We have recovered the wreckage in almost one piece and found 215 kilos (473 pounds) of C-4 type high explosives,” Wing Commander Nanayakkara told AFP. “But the aircraft had very basic navigational aides.”
Authorities immediately switched off electricity in the capital when they detected the rebel aircraft heading toward the city late Friday.
Two people were killed and another 58 wounded when the second plane smashed into Colombo’s main tax office.
Military officials said they had expected the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to use the planes in a suicide attack before losing them to advancing government forces in the