LTTE launched artillery an air attacks on security forces HQ and adjoining airbase in Vavuniya early morning today (09th) at around 3.15AM. LTTE artillery began hitting the the area surrounding the base just before two incoming aircrafts were detected on SLAF radar. 10 soldiers have been killed and 18 more have been wounded in the incident. 3 policemen and 5 civilians have also been wounded. Injuries and deaths are said to be caused by exploding artillery shells. The Indian donated Indra2 radar which detected LTTE craft also sustained minor damages from one of the shells or bombs that fell near it.
More than 25 artillery shells and more than 40 mortars fell in and around base premises and the artillery duel continued for nearly two hours after the air attack. SLA have been countering LTTE artillery fire with Multi Barreled Rocket Launchers and other long range artillery guns stationed in multiple locations in Vavuniya. Special Forces (SF) units of the Sri Lanka Army have now been deployed in the are to hunt down any remaining tigers who managed to infiltrate the FDL last night.
Image: Some of the weapons captured from LTTE during Vavuniya attack. Source www.army.lk
The LTTE had coordinated the attack so their aircraft would commence bombing just after the artillery strike diverted the attention of the base personnel. Several LTTE cadres including artillery spotters and suicide cadres had managed to infiltrate the FDL and sneak close to the base. Ground troops, amidst heavy artillery fire, have successfully engaged these cadres and around 10 LTTE bodies could be observed scattered near the base premises. SLA sources suggest that the LTTE death figure could be well above 20.
Two F-7G interceptors of the 5th Jet Squadron were airborne from Katunayake Air Base immediately after the LTTE planes were detected on radar. According to SLAF pilots , they have managed to shoot down an LTTE aircraft over Mullaithiv while it was returning from the aforementioned raid. The plane, after being shot down, had crashed into LTTE held territory in Mullaithiv district to an area some 20km away from Mullaithiv town.