Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam  > Tamil Armed Resistance > Reports of Armed Conflict > Liberation Tigers bomb Fuel Refinery in Kolonnawa near Colombo

Reports on Armed Conflict in Tamil Eelam

Liberation Tigers bomb fuel refinery
and gasoline storage facility in Kolonnawa near Colombo

28 April 2007

Two oil storages that supply fuel to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers attacked by Tamileelam Air Force - TamilNet Report

Tamil Tiger rebels bomb fuel refinery and gasoline storage facility -Krishnan Francis, Associated Press Report

Tamil Tiger aircraft bomb key installations in Sri Lanka's capital in retaliation for a military air strike on their territory - AFP Report

சிறிலங்கவின் இரு பிரதான பெற்றோலிய எரிபொருள் களஞ்சியங்கள் மீது வான்புலிகள் தாக்குதல் - ஈழம் தாயக செய்தியாளர், Puthinam

வான்புலிகள் அச்சம்: மீண்டும் இருளில் மூழ்கியது கொழும்பு - ஈழம் க.திருக்குமார், Puthinam

LTTE air raid over Colombo - Tiger aircraft bomb Kolonnawa oil installation and Muthurajawela gas facility in midnight attack - Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times

On the View from Colombo - Wakely Paul from USA, 1 May 2007

Sri Lanka aviation hub aspirations hit by air raids - Lanka Business on Line, 1 May 2007

Gas shortage looming after LTTE air raid, 6 May 2007

[see also B.Raman, South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG) On LTTE's Air Capability]

தமிழீழ வான்படையினரின் வானூர்திகளை நோக்கி
சிறிலங்காப் படையினர் நடத்திய தாக்குதல்களின் காட்சி


Two oil storages that supply fuel to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers were attacked by the Tamileelam Air Force - TamilNet, Saturday, 28 April 2007, 22:33 GMT


Two oil storages that supply fuel to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers were attacked by the Tamileelam Air Force, Tiger Military Spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan told TamilNet. Oil and fuel storages in Kolonnawa and Muththuraajawala were attacked by the TAF at 1:50 a.m. Sunday and at 2:05 a.m. after Sri Lanka Air Force bombers attacked a suburb of Kilinochchi town in Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam administered territory, Mr. Ilanthirayan said adding that the Tiger bombers had safely returned to their airbase in Vanni. Meanwhile, sources in Colombo said that 3 oil tanks were burning in Muthurajawala.

The air strike by the Tigers was carried out after Sri Lankan Air Force bombers bombed Vanni Sunday morning around 1:00 a.m., the LTTE military spokesman said.


Tamil Tiger rebels bomb fuel refinery and gasoline storage facility -  Krishnan Francis, Associated Press Report, 29 April 2007

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels bombed a fuel refinery and gasoline storage facility near the Sri Lankan capital early Sunday, and authorities cut power to the city, officials said. Hours later, the military pounded rebel positions in the north.
The rebel attack was the third assault by Tamil Tiger planes since they carried out their first-ever air strike last month when they bombed an air force base near Colombo, killing at least three airmen.

On Sunday, Tiger aircraft dropped four bombs near Colombo, said an official at the defense ministry's media center, speaking on condition of anonymity due to policy.

A soldier who witnessed the rebel attack said he saw a low-flying plane drop two bombs on a gas storage facility in Kerawalapitiya, about 7 miles north of Colombo. The bombs started a fire, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media. The extent of damage was not immediately known.

As a security measure, officials knocked out power to the entire capital Sunday, as well as the country's only international airport and an adjoining air force base, as the rebel aircraft approached.

The rebels have launched all three air strikes at night, and fly without lights to avoid detection. Many people were awake watching Sri Lanka's cricket team play Australia in the World Cup final on television when the power was shut off.

All passengers aboard planes were called back into the terminals and air traffic was suspended for about an hour, an employee of the international airport said, speaking on condition on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Rasiah Ilanthirayan, a rebel spokesman, said Tamil Tiger aircraft bombed two facilities that supply fuel to the Sri Lankan air force.

"The two squadrons returned safely after the mission and the pilots have confirmed that they have hit the targets," he said by phone from the Tamil Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka.


Tamil Tiger aircraft bomb key installations in Sri Lanka's capital in retaliation for a military air strike on their territory - AFP Report

Tamil Tiger aircraft bombed key installations in Sri Lanka's capital in retaliation for a military air strike on their territory early Sunday, a rebel spokesman told AFP.

Tiger planes targeted two oil storage facilities because they provided fuel to Sri Lankan forces, spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said.

"We sent two squadrons to target facilities that provide fuel to military aircraft after two Sri Lankan airforce jets bombed a suburb of Kilinochchi (inside rebel-held territory) just past midnight," said the spokesman for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

He said the military had bombed the outskirts of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (206 miles) north of the capital, but gave no details of casualties. However, he said that within an hour of the military air strike, the Tigers scrambled "two squadrons" to attack targets in the capital Colombo and returned to their secret location two hours later.

Authorities in Colombo activated air defences when suspected Tiger planes entered the city's airspace early Sunday. Troops fired anti-aircraft guns and power was switched off as residents watched the country's national team lose to Australia in the cricket World Cup in Barbados. But the guns failed to bring down the guerrilla planes, officials said.

Earlier Saturday, police and security forces sealed off Sri Lanka's capital, searching every vehicle entering and leaving the city amid fears of a Tamil Tiger attack.

There were huge traffic jams at every entry point to Colombo with motorists spending several hours before they could be allowed in. Doctors and other essential services were also stuck at roadblocks.

"This is part of the operations to prevent Tigers getting into the city," a police official said.

Sixteen people were detained for questioning after the authorities searched nearly 10,000 vehicles and checked identity papers of 16,500 people, police said.

Sri Lankan forces have been on high alert since the Tigers, whose drawn-out campaign for an independent state for the island's ethnic Tamil minority has left more than 60,000 people dead, carried out their first aerial strike last month. Security in the capital was stepped up after defence ministry reports that Tamil Tiger guerrillas had entered the air space of the island's only international airport overnight on Thursday. The sky over the Katunayake international airport near Colombo -- where government war planes share a runway with civilian jets -- was lit up with anti-aircraft gunfire in response to the incursion by a "suspicious aircraft."

சிறிலங்கவின் இரு பிரதான பெற்றோலிய எரிபொருள் களஞ்சியங்கள் மீது வான்புலிகள் தாக்குதல, ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை, 29 ஏப்ரல் 2007
சிறிலங்காவின் கொலன்னாவ எண்ணெய் சுத்திகரிப்பு நிலையம்
 முத்துராஜவெல எண்ணெய்க்குதம் ஆகியவை மீது தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளின் இரு வானூர்திகள் தாக்குதல் நடத்திவிட்டு வெற்றிகரமாக தளம் திரும்பி விட்டதாக தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள் தெரிவித்துள்ளனர்.

இரு பகுதிகளிலும் தீச்சுவாலை கொளுந்துவிட்டு எரிவதனை வானோடிகள் கண்ணுற்றதாகவும் விடுதலைப் புலிகள் தெரிவித்தனர்.

சிறிலங்கா தலைநகர் கொழும்பில் வான்புலிகள் இன்று ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை அதிகாலை இந்த துணிகரத்தாக்குதலை நடத்தி இரண்டு பெரும் எரிபொருள் களஞ்சியங்களை தாக்கிவிட்டு வெற்றிகரமாகத் தளம் திரும்பியுள்ளன.

சிறிலங்கா வான்படை வானூர்திகளுக்கு எரிபொருளை வழங்கும் களஞ்சியமான கொல்லனாவ பெற்றோலிய எரிபொருள் களஞ்சியமும்
முத்துராஜவல எரிபொருள் மற்றும் எரிவாயு களஞ்சியமும் வான்புலிகளின் குண்டுத்தாக்குதலுக்கு இலக்காகி சேதமாகியுள்ளன.

கிளிநொச்சி மீது சிறிலங்கா வான்படையின் மிக் ரக வானூர்திகள் இன்று அதிகாலை பரா வெளிச்சக்குண்டுகளை வீசி குண்டுத்தாக்குதலை நடத்திச் சென்ற 1 மணிநேரத்தில் வான்புலிகளின் வானூர்திகள் கொழும்புக்குச் சென்று அதிமுக்கிய பெற்றோலிய எரிபொருள் களஞ்சியங்கள் மீது குண்டுகளை வீசி அழிவுகளை ஏற்படுத்திவிட்டு தளம் திரும்பிவிட்டன.

வான்புலிகள் தொடர்பாக முழுமையான விழிப்பில் சிறிலங்கா படைத்தரப்பு இருக்கின்ற நிலையில் வான்புலிகளின் வானூர்திகள் சிறிலங்கா தலைநகர் கொழும்பின் மையத்தில் தாக்குதலை நடத்தி தளம் திரும்பியிருக்கின்றன.


வான்புலிகள் அச்சம்: மீண்டும் இருளில் மூழ்கியது கொழும்பு, ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை, 29 ஏப்ரல் 2007


வான்புலிகளின் வானூர்திகள் கொழும்புக்கு வந்து விட்டதாக ஏற்பட்ட அச்சத்தினால் சிறிலங்கா தலைநகர் கொழும்பு இருளில் மூழ்கியது.

கொழும்பில் இன்று அதிகாலை 1.45 மணிமுதல் 3 மணிவரை மின்சாரம் முற்றாக துண்டிக்கப்பட்டு இருளாக்கப்பட்டது.

கொழும்புத் துறைமுகம் காலிமுகத்திடலுடன் இருக்கும் சிறிலங்கா கடற்படைத்தலைமையகம் வான்படைத் தலைமையகம் மற்றும் இராணுவத்தலைமையகம் படைநிலைகள் தளங்கள் என்பவற்றிலிருந்து வான் நோக்கி தொடர்ச்சியாக பீரங்கி வேட்டுக்கள் தீர்க்கப்பட்டன.

அப்போது கொழும்பு நகரம் முழுவதும் அல்லோலலகல்லோலப்பட்டது.

கொழும்புத்துறைமுகத்தை சூழவிருந்த மக்கள் பெருமளவில் இடம்பெயர்ந்துள்ளனர். மேலும் சாலைகளில் பயணித்த ஊர்திகளின் மின்விளக்குகளை அணைக்குமாறு வீதிகளில் நின்ற படையினர் பெரும் பதட்டத்துடன் செயற்பட்டுள்ளனர். வான்புலிகள் தாக்குதல் நடத்திய வேளையில் கொழும்பு முழுமையும் மிகப்பெரும் பதட்டத்தில் இருந்தது.

இதன் பின் மீண்டும் மின்விளக்குகள் எரிய விடப்பட்டு திரும்பவும் வான்புலிகள் வந்து விட்டனர் என்று 3.15 முதல் 4 மணிவரை மின்சாரம் துண்டிக்கப்பட்டு திரும்பவும் கடற்பகுதி நோக்கி பீரங்கிகளால் சுடப்பட்டது.

அப்போது கடற்பகுதியில் மின் விளக்கு சமிக்கைகளுடன் வானூர்தி ஒன்று பறந்து கொண்டிருந்தது. அதனை நோக்கியே பீரங்கிச்சூடு நடத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது. சுமார் அரை மணிநேரம் நடத்தப்பட்ட இந்த சூடு பின்னர் நிறுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது.

வான்புலிகளின் தாக்குதலில் முத்துராஜவல பெற்றோலிய எரிபொருள் நிலையம் மற்றும் எரிவாயு நிரப்பு நிலையம் கடும் சேதங்களுக்கு உள்ளாகியுள்ளது. அங்கு பெரும் வெடிப்புடன் தீ பரவியது. எரிபொருள் எரிவாயு என்பன தீப்பற்றி எரிந்துள்ளன.

இதனையடுத்து இன்று அதிகாலை 4 மணியளவில் இரண்டாம் முறையாக வான்புலிகள் வந்து விட்டனர் என்று மின்சாரம் துண்டிக்கப்பட்டு மீளவும் மின்சாரம் வந்தபின்னர்தன் முத்துராஜவல நோக்கி தீயணைப்பு எந்திரங்கள் சென்றுள்ளன.

LTTE air raid over Colombo - Tiger aircraft bomb Kolonnawa oil installation and Muthurajawela gas facility in midnight attack - Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times, 29 April 2007

The night sky was set aglow when security forces fired shots and flares into the air after reports of a suspicious aircraft. Pic: M.A. Pushpakumara
The city of Colombo was brought under a total blackout shortly after midnight today as two Tiger rebel aircraft entered the city to attack targets.
One of the aircraft had dropped bombs at a fuel dump in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation's (CPC) oil installations in Kolonnawa. Another bomb was reported to have fallen at an LPG gas facility in Muthurajawela, triggering off a large fire. The Colombo Fire Brigade was called in to douse them.

Reports of the intrusion of the LTTE aircraft came as Sri Lankans watched the World Cup cricket finals in Barbados. Whilst a blackout was in force, troops in security forces installations in the city including Army Headquarters, the Air Force Base at Ratmalana and VVIP residence began firing volleys of flares into the sky. The firing from the SLAF base was intense.

The SLAF base at Katunayake also began firing flares and shooting into the sky fearing it was a second attack on the base in two months. Civilian flights were cautioned about these developments over Colombo's skies. Air Force spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva said that after receiving information about suspicious aircraft, they activated the air defence system in places such as Air Force headquarters, Colombo harbour, the Kolonnawa Petroleum Distribution Centre, and the Sapugaskanda oil refinery.

The situation caused panic as armed policemen joined in firing into the sky. Explosions were heard in different parts of the city, including Ratmalana, Battaramulla and Kollupitiya causing concern among the public. The blackout was restored only after it was confirmed that the guerrilla aircraft had left. Reports from Mannar later confirmed sighting the aircraft in the skies over Mannar.

Neither Colombo nor Ragama hospitals reported any wounded people seeking treatment following the incident. Shortly after the bombings in Colombo, Air Force jets pounded locations in LTTE-controlled Kilinochchi.

An hour later, there was widespread confusion that the guerrilla aircraft had returned. It turned out to be a commercial airliner.
The pilot is reported to have later complained to airport authorities at Katunayake about the firing. However, the aircraft was not hit.

On the View from Colombo - Wakely Paul from USA, 1 May 2007

Based on telephone conversations with people in Colombo, social life has come to a standstill.

The bombs in Mulkirigalla which set the fuel tanks on fire there, were so loud that most people thought the bombs hit their neighbor�s yards. With the blackout, government guns were fired aimlessly into the air from Colombo to Ratmalana after the planes had completed their bombing mission 10 miles north of the city and departed for their home base. People first thought these were crackers to celebrate a Ceylon victory in the Cricket World cup over Australia [which they lost] but the brightly glowing spectacle above the houses made people realize otherwise.

Traveling by car is painful, as there are check stops at every intersection. It took my Uncle 3 hours to get from Wellawatte to Kynsey Road, to a house a short distance from the General Hospital. Because of this and the fear of further bombings, people communicate with each other by phone. Capitalizing on this, cabs charge a fortune. Today is May Day, and just a few people have gathered for the usual political processions. Tomorrow and day after is Vesak, and there is concern that the usual crowds would be absent to view the lights.  The prices of gasoline and fuel have mounted.

Sri Lanka aviation hub aspirations hit by air raids - Lanka Business on Line, 01 May 2007

May 01, 2007 (LBO) � A trimming of services to Sri Lanka by major international carriers is undermining Colombo's aspirations to be a regional aviation hub, in addition to hitting the island's tourist industry.

Singapore Airlines halted daytime flights to Sri Lanka Monday, following Tamil Tiger air intrusions into the South, while Emirates said its suspension would remain, dashing earlier expectations that it would resume operations soon. Emirates said a service to Dubai and Singapore which had a stopover in Colombo would now by pass the island and fly direct. A Dubai - Male flight via Colombo has also been dropped in favour of a direct service.

Emirates, which manages and partly owns SriLankan, the island's national carrier, suspended all its flights to Colombo along with Cathay Pacific after Sunday's Tiger air strike, the third in a month. "Following a review of the situation in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, Emirates' flights to the city remain suspended until further notice," an Emirates spokesperson said.

Colombo airport has become a hub for the subcontinent in recent years with a rising number of Indian travellers using the island to travel to the Middle East, Europe and East Asia.

Major Push

Sri Lanka has also been systematically liberalizing air services agreements, and its major push for hub status began in 2002 when the government lit a fuse and unilaterally gave visa-on-arrival to Indian nationals following a ceasefire agreement signed with the Tamil Tigers.

Soon after, Sri Lanka also pushed for Indian private carriers to come to the island at time when they were restricted to domestic flying and state airlines were unable to expand to meet the demand created by the visa liberalization.

"Over the last year or two we saw the results of the market opening," Rohan Samarajiva head of the policy research body LIRNEasia, told LBO.  "Colombo was just seeing hub-like traffic with full flights coming from India and people crossing over to other gates." Samarajiva was part of the Indo-Lanka joint negotiation team that effectively transformed the South Asian aviation industry with India giving private carriers the right not only to fly to Sri Lanka but to other countries as well.


How much of a hub an airport really is, could be seen from the share of transit passengers. In 2002 Colombo handled 2.7 million passengers with 10.4 percent of them transiting.

By 2004 total traffic had shot up to 4 million, growing 26 percent in that year alone, (RANILS ERA) while Chennai lagged behind at 2 million and fast overhauling Mumbai which handled 5.3 million passengers that year but was growing slowly.

Sri Lanka's economic liberalization slowed after 2004 and violence escalated, but the seeds sown in 2002 continued to bear fruit.

"A hub has to do with a confluence and outgoing planes and incoming ones, so you have peaks," says Samarajiva. "For example one of the peaks in Singapore is between 6.00 am and 9.00 am. In Sri Lanka we saw a hub-like peak developing around 12.00 to 02.00 am." The suspension of the Singapore night flights would effectively stymie other carriers who were feeding Colombo. "That is a very serious problem for all the Indian flights that come here because there won�t be any other aircraft to terminate to," Samarajiva said.

The big blow came when the Tigers started flying night sorties to Colombo culminating in the attack on the gas and petroleum storage facilities near Colombo which caused little real damage.


The attack came only days after Cathay resumed flights from a previous suspension after the first rebel air raid on March 26. Sunday's attack resulted in an unprecedented barrage of anti-aircraft fire from government installations, including an airbase which shares the runway with the international airport. Singapore Airlines said it would fly to Colombo only during the daytime after flights were disrupted for the third time because of the Tamil Tiger air threats in the night. Cathay Pacific also suspended flights after the attack and has made no announcement about resuming them.

�What Emirates and Cathay have indicated is that they can�t afford to take a chance of even a stray bullet hitting an aircraft,� said Channa Amaratunga, Chief Investment Officer-Boston Capital Ltd. �Anti-aircraft gunfire lighting up the sky is rarely good news for airlines.� In two earlier Tiger incursions, the airport was closed briefly and flights diverted to India.

Travel Woes

Last Sunday an incoming Indian airliner was turned back but the airport opened shortly after. Countries like Australia which had earlier issued harsh travel advisories asking citizens to 'reconsider' the need to travel have since added new lines to their updated statement. "Due to the on-going conflict, the international airport could be closed without warning," Australia latest advice to its citizens said. Since the beginning of the year tourist arrivals have been falling, with even the resilient Indian market falling back 7 percent in the first quarter and Western Europe plunging 25 percent. In March total arrivals fell 36 percent.

Sri Lanka now has to buy expensive defensive equipment at a cost that is totally disproportionate to the size of the small Tamil Tiger aircraft, disrupting the country's finances which are already stretched with a planned 9.2 percent deficit.


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