Sri Lankans abort party amid air attacks

April 29, 2007 (AFP) – The Sri Lankan capital was enveloped in “total panic” early Sunday as Tamil Tiger air attacks forced World Cup cricket fans to flee their parties for safety. Fans dressed in the Sri Lankan team T-shirts and carrying the national flag had earlier braved the rain to gather in their hundreds at playgrounds, clubs, hotels and bars showing live coverage of the match on giant screens.

However, the loud music, singing and dancing came to an abrupt end after the city was plunged into darkness and anti-aircraft batteries opened up at Tamil Tiger aircraft that entered the city’s airspace and carried out two bombings.

“It was total panic because we initially thought it was fireworks,” said Zaithoon Bin Ahamed who was partying with friends at a Colombo Rugby club.

People scrambled to leave venues, as troops manning key positions in the capital lit up the night sky with a massive barrage of anti-aircraft fire that shook homes and caused panic, residents said.

“Organisers were asking people to stay calm, but people were getting nervous over the constant sounds of gun fire. No one really knew what was going on,” said Kamini Edward who was following the ga