Sri Lanka bombs Tamil Tiger airfield to “deter further attacks”

May 12, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s airforce bombed a rebel airfield in the island’s north to “deter further attacks” by the guerrillas after they sank a navy gunboat and killed 18 people, the government said Friday. The airforce carried out a “limited operation” to bomb the airfield of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Iranamadu, in the rebel-held Wanni region, the government said in a statement.

“The government on several occasions brought to the attention of the international community … the grave security threat posed by this illegal aviation facility not only to Sri Lanka, but also to the region,” it said.

The statement said the Scandinavians monitoring a tenuous truce between Sri Lankan government and the Tigers had been denied access to the air field by the guerrillas in the past.

The air attacks were carried out Thursday shortly after the Tigers sank a navy gunboat that was escorting a ship that transported 710 government soldiers to the northern peninsula of jaffna.

The Tigers made no comment on the air strikes.