Talent show may have helped Sri Lanka suicide attack

COLOMBO, Oct 23, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan defence officials said Tuesday that a major Tamil Tiger suicide attack against a key military base may have been helped by security lapses during the screening of a popular TV talent contest. A rebel “Black Tiger” suicide squad of 21 on Monday infiltrated the Anuradhapura army and air force base north of Colombo, killing 13 servicemen and destroying several aircraft including a multi-million-dollar spy plane.

Military officials said the commando-style attack began in the early hours of Monday, meaning the rebels would have had to be at the perimeter fence at least three to four hours earlier to get into position.

“That takes us to the time when Sirasa Super Star was shown on TV,” a military official said, referring to a hugely popular talent show inspired by “American Idol.”

“There are no TVs at sentry points, but the alertness of sentries and whether all positions were properly manned is being probed,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

Three layers of razor wire protect what was considered one of the island’s most secure bases. The installation serves as a key logistics hub for operations against the rebel-held north.

Military officials said the Tamil Tig