Indian Air Force on alert after Colombo raid: report

NEW DELHI, February 21, 2009 (AFP) – The Indian Air Force was placed on alert on the southern coast of the country Saturday following a deadly Tamil Tiger air raid on the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, a report said. The Press Trust of India news agency quoted air force sources as saying coastal radar and air defence units were keeping a “round-the-clock vigil” for aerial threats, given the area’s proximity to Sri Lanka.

A narrow strip of water separates the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, and India has said that any air or sea capability of the Tigers would be a threat to its national security.

Mobile radars were already in place to protect sensitive infrastructure from possible Tamil Tiger attacks, the news agency said.

An air force spokesman contacted by AFP declined to comment on the report.

The Kamikaze-style suicide attack targeting air force facilities late Friday night killed two people and injured 58 after one of two rebel aircraft crashed into a tax office in Colombo.

The Sri Lankan army said it shot down the second aircraft before it could do any damage.

The pilots of the aircraft both died.

Sri Lanka’s Tamils share close cultural and religi