Sri Lanka vows to destroy Tiger planes

COLOMBO, April 25, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Wednesday vowed to destroy the Tamil Tigers’ air capability, a day after the guerrillas killed six soldiers and wounded 13 in a bombing of a key military base. The Sri Lankan air force said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had used a single aircraft to carry out Tuesday’s raid against the Palaly military complex.

“Only one Tiger aircraft was flown in the operation (by the Tigers), not two as mentioned by them, and it was airborne for about eight minutes,” air force spokesman Ajantha Silva told reporters.

He said ground troops fired at the guerrilla aircraft and may have inflicted some damage although they were unable to bring it down.

“Our number one priority now is to eliminate the enemy aircraft, to destroy their planes,” Silva said.

In the Tigers’ second air strike in two months, the LTTE said they used two light aircraft to bomb Palaly, the largest military facility in the Jaffna peninsula.

The rebels’ latest air raid was a serious embarrassment for Sri Lanka’s air force, which announced last week that it had acquired night-attack capability to knock out rebel aircraft.

The Tigers, whose separatist drive since