Flying Tigers hold Sri Lanka in a thrall


May 1, 2007 (AFP) – The new capability of the Tamil Tigers to carry out airborne attacks has not only made them a rarity among the world’s guerrilla outfits but has also badly shaken an entire country. Sri Lanka’s defence ministry has acknowledged that the Tigers may be operating at least five light aircraft, used in three headline-grabbing raids against military and civilian targets over the past month.

The Tigers already possess an effective naval unit known as the Sea Tigers.

The Tiger air force may be minuscule compared with Sri Lanka’s fleet — which comprises supersonic jets, spy planes and helicopter gunships — but so far government forces have failed miserably in countering the flying Tigers.

“You can understand that the Tigers will use a light aircraft once, but there is something wrong when the air force is not able to take it out after three attacks,” said retired brigadier general Vipul Boteju.

The authorities switched off power to the capital of one million people when the Tigers carried out their third bombing raid here on Sunday, targeting two oil depots. The city was thrown into a state of panic.

In the wake of the attack, several international airlines announc

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