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LTTE may still have an aircraft left in its arsenal: Report

T V Sriram in Colombo | March 27, 2009 15:00 IST

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The Tamil Tigers may still have an aircraft left in their arsenal and this has triggered a high alert over the capital, where recently a Kamikaze air strike by the rebels was timely foiled, a media report said on Friday.
A Czech made Zlin Z-143 light aircraft may still be left with the Liberation of Tigers of the Tamil Eelam contrary to the reports that it had no more aircraft after losing two of them last month, the report said.
"Civilians and ground intelligence sources had revealed that the LTTE [Images] is still having a functional light aircraft similar to the two aircraft destroyed in Colombo last month," the Daily Mirror said. It said civilians had sighted this aircraft on several occasions while being kept under a hut.
"Following this information authorities are on high alert fearing a possible air threat from this LTTE aircraft. Civilians had also seen repairs being done on the aircraft by the LTTE technicians inside the hut and it seems to be functional, though they have never seen this particular aircraft flying," the newspaper said.
The LTTE sent two of their explosive laden aircraft to Colombo on February 20 with the aim of targeting the Air Force
Headquarters building and the Katunayake Airport base, but the planes were shot down by the anti-aircraft fire.  
Advancing Sri Lankan troops have captured as many as seven Tiger airfields and seized a large number of aircraft
parts and models from various locations east of the main highway running to the north.
Though the Lankan troops claimed to have overrun most of the Tiger air bases, the LTTE surprised the government
forces by sending the two aircraft on suicide mission launching them from makeshift roads.
"Security forces found that the LTTE had brought sophisticated parts to attempt to assemble a new aircraft," the report said.
The LTTE air force came into prominence when two Tiger aircraft attacked the Katunayake Air Force Base in March 2007.
While a LTTE aircraft dropped bombs near the Palali Air Base in Jaffna on April 2007, two of its planes attacked the Muthurajawela and Kolonnawa fuel storage premises in western Sri Lanka [Images] in April last year, in October 2007, two LTTE aircraft dropped bombs at the Anuradhaapura Air Force Base.
In April 2008 two aircraft dropped bombs on Welioya army base in the Northwest and in August 2008, LTTE aircraft dropped bombs on a Naval base at Trincomalee.
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