Text from source : The copy-cat 9/11 of 20/2 LTTE has link with Al Qaeda.
The World’s first Air Force combat with terrorist aircraft with explosives and bombs took place last week. This air attack is a clear indication that the LTTE has tried to emulate the Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in the USA. The only difference being that the planes used by the Al Qaeda were passenger planes hijacked with its load of passengers and the LTTE craft were carrying a damaging load of explosives. This probably makes Sri Lanka the only country that has shot down two explosive laden aircraft engaged in a bombing mission over a city since World War II.
Information on last Friday’s LTTE air attack on Colombo has been revealed by the relevant authorities by now. Two of the LTTE’s Zlin 143 light aircraft had taken off on Friday, February 20, from the Puthukkudiyirippu west built-up area. Sources clearly indicate that they had taken off from a normal road and not from any runway. The distance needed for a Zlin 143 for take-off being roughly some 700 metres.
According to the news story posted on the pro-LTTE Tamilnet website, the main targets were the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Headquarters at Slave Island in Colombo and the SLAF air base with its Kfirs, MIGs and helicopter gunship hangars at Katunayake. Though the website published a photograph of the two ‘Sky Tiger’ pilots with LTTE Leader V. Prabhakaran, sources say it was not a recent picture, as Prabhakaran is very busy elsewhere and has no time to pose for photographs.
The first plane struck Colombo at around 9.45 pm while the second headed towards Katunayake. Meanwhile, the first sound of the planes taking off had been heard by ground troops operating in Puthukkudiyirippu and they had alerted the Security Forces Headquarters at Vavuniya. Thereafter troops had detected two suspicious craft over Olumadu and Mannar at around 8.35 pm. SLAF Commander Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke had immediately given instructions to the F-7 fighter squadron and the jets had been airborne from Katunayake air base by 8.50 pm. Meanwhile the air defence system in Colombo had been activated and a blackout was imposed on the city.
At approximately 9.00 pm, radars at Palavi detected the movements of the two aircraft and the entire Air Defence System was activated and all eyes were turned skywards. By 9.15 pm the two planes were detected over the Mirigama area and by 9.47 pm, the two Tiger aircraft entered the air space of Colombo. From then onwards all systems were go for the Air Defence Systems while the SLAF’s F-7 jets flew over the Mullaitivu sector to engage the planes if and when they returned after their mission, thus effectively throwing an air blockade.
By 9.50 pm, the city was in darkness and tracers from the air defence system could be seen over the skies. The firing hit one of the Tiger planes, which exploded in flames before hitting the 12th floor of the Inland Revenue Department building just opposite the SLAF headquarters at Slave Island. The city Fire Brigade which was also placed on high alert raced to the scene and was able to extinguish the blaze, preventing it from spreading. The same night SLAF personnel recovered parts of the plane and its engine from inside the building.
Meanwhile, at 9.55 pm, the other Czechz-built Zlin 143 was heading towards the SLAF Main Air Base at Katunayake. While the plane neared the air base, the SLAF’s No. 32 land based air defence system gunners opened fire. Later investigations of the downed craft and its pilot’s body showed that the fire from the 12.7mm guns had struck the pilot’s, chest and head. He had been unable to trigger the 210 odd kilograms of C-4 explosives packed inside the plane. The plane had fallen on to a marshy land some 1.5 kms south of the airport premises. It is not clear as to what load of explosives the other plane carried. Are they the last of the Tiger planes?
The person who was behind the LTTE’s ability to bring in these aircraft was a person by the name of Suresh Gunapalan, sometimes also referred to as Sujith Gunapalan, his Sri Lankan passport number being M 312812. He is said to be from Thalaadi in Jaffna and received his education at Stanley College, also in Jaffna. He had been a hardcore member of the LTTE’s procurement wing headed by KP, and is said to be the only person with some military training within the wing. He has brought in five such planes for the Tigers. Of these, three have been destroyed by the SLAF and Army up to now – two on Friday and one, while flying over Mullaitivu when returning after its mission of dropping the bomb at the Kelanitissa power station sometime back.
Asked what his opinion of the remaining two aircraft was, SLAF Commander Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke said, “We are ready for those too.” He personally rendered his appreciation to the air defence system team who had achieved this remarkable feat. But the million dollar question is, “Will the LTTE attempt a repetition of the attack with the last two planes it is said to posses?”
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