Sri Lanka
Rebel aircraft drop bombs near Colombo
Apr 29, 2007 - 9:18:50 AM

Colombo, April 29 - Suspected rebel Tamil aircraft dropped two bombs on the outskirts of the capital Colombo Sunday morning, triggering panic in the city as the military activated its air defence system and fired at the intruders.

One of the bombs hit a gas storage tank at Muthurajarwela, 12 km north of the city, but state television reported that the major storage tanks escaped danger. Two civilians were injured.

The second bomb hit a fuel storage tank area in Kolonnnaa, eight km north of the capital, but no damage was caused, according to the state-controlled national television, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.

The order to activate the air defence system was given after radar detected a suspicious plane that sparked fear of another Tamil rebel air attack, a military spokesman said. The military fired into the air over vital security and government installations.

Electricity was shut down for more than an hour and a half across the city and suburbs to prevent rebels from identifying targets from the air.

At the time, Sri Lankans were glued to their televisions for the cricket world cup finals between Sri Lanka and Australia, being broadcast live from the Caribbean islands.

Panic and pandemonium broke out when the air defence system started firing.

On Tuesday, Tamil rebels used a light aircraft to bomb a military complex in the north of the country, killing six soldiers and wounding 13. It was the second such air attack by the rebels after the first one in late March.

A military spokesman said that the air defence system was activated in the Colombo port, army headquarters, defence ministry, airport and an oil refinery around 2:30 am Sunday -

Air force spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva confirmed that they had spotted a suspicious aircraft on the radar, but were not in a position to confirm whether it was a rebel aircraft.

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