Sri Lankan troops capture last Tamil Tiger airstrip: military

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

February 3, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan government troops on Tuesday captured the last of several jungle airstrips used by the Tamil Tigers to launch air strikes across the island, the defence ministry said. The two-kilometre (1.25-mile) long runway and hangar for light aircraft was seized by troops advancing on the village of Thirivilaru in Mullaittivu district, the ministry said.

No aircraft were found, but search operations were underway, a military official added.

The Tigers are believed to have five Czech-built Zlin-143 aircraft, smuggled onto the island in pieces and re-assembled.

The guerrillas last launched an air attack early in September 2008, when they bombed a military base.