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Still Sri Lanka remains defenseles against those tiny aircraft


Sunday’s Tamil attack was yet another embarrassment to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s dysfunctional government….Colombo’s politicians did the rest. Saturday’s press carried bitter attacks from the opposition United National Party, whose government had signed the 2002 ceasefire with the LTTE now in tatters under Rajapakse, that the president had abandoned the country, likening Rajapakse to Nero fiddling while Rome burned. The Tigers attacked a day later and, doubtless, will do so again and again, until this government is laughed out of office. says Fortune’s Eric Ellis.

By Walter Jayawardhana

Sri Lankan security forces remained a sitting duck helpless to do anything drastic against the tiny propeller driven Zlin Z 142 air craft which come from the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi and engage in night time bombing sorties and fly back unharmed while the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) military spokesman Rasiah Ilantheriyan vowed to continue with their mid night air raids.

The tiny Czechoslovakian made civilians planes owned by the LTTE converted to drop home made bombs although made big headlines in contrast to the minimal damage they could do did more economic harm to Sri Lanka in the form of dropping share market values and cancelled international flights that would bring in the tourists, an important factor in Sri Lanka’’s economy.

Regardless of promises to hit the tiny aircraft back, Sri Lanka Airforce jets are unable to retaliate back and the anti-aircraft guns have not been able to bring them down despite of prior warnings that they enemy planes were coming, due to so far undeclared reasons.

After many weeks since the first strike right into the Katunayaka Air Force base Sri Lanka security forces, up to the last strike on tiny oil installations in Colombo, despite promises, has not been able to do anything about them, compelling partners of the government like the JHU issuing statements demanding immediate action.

Jane’s Defense Weekly correspondent Iqbal Athas said, “"Although the LTTE’s acquisitions appear primitive, they have clearly demonstrated through their last four sorties the helplessness of the government to protect its own airspace." Athas further said, "The air force still doesn’t appear prepared to meet with the air threat from the LTTE."

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, has indefinitely suspended its flight to Colombo, for the second time and Emirates suspended its flights for two days, until the situation is further studied.

Singapore Air Lines said, it suspended all its night flights until further notice. The airline said, “"A new daylight-hours schedule will commence from May 1 subject to ongoing review,” in a statement.

According to the new schedules SQ466 will depart Singapore at 10:25 am and arrive in Colombo at 11:35 am.

SQ467 will leave Colombo at 12:50 pm and arrive in Singapore at 7:20 pm, the national the air line said.

SIA will waive all cancellation and amendment fees for customers whose tickets were issued before April 30 for travel between that day and May 31.

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May 1, 2007 - Posted by | International News

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