War drums beat in Sri Lanka but truce talks still target: analysts

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (2nd R) arrives to visit the site of a bomb attack at St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. - A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Apr. 26 (AFP) – Air strikes, mortar attacks, a suicide bombing in the heart of Colombo — while it may seem Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lanka’s government are beating war drums, they are in fact preparing to return to truce talks, some analysts said Wednesday. The fact that the government has recommitted itself to the ceasefire is a good sign, said retired army brigadier general Vipul Boteju, who added that President Mahinda Rajapakse had little choice but to order limited air strikes after Tuesday’s suicide bombing at army headquarters in Colombo.

“The government had to retaliate, they had to do something. They selected Trincomalee. They are showing we are not willing to simply accept what the Tigers have done to us,” Boteju told AFP.

Sri Lanka’s airforce Wednesday carried out retaliatory strikes against Tamil Tiger positions in the northeastern district of Trincomalee where the military bombed a cluster of boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Tuesday night, a police official in the area said.

The air assault followed Tuesday’s suicide bombing of the army chief’s motorcade in Colombo which left lieutenant general Sarath Fonseka badly wounded and 10 others dead.

The attack was blamed on a “Black Tiger” female suicide bomber wh