Sri Lankan Rebels Kill 5 in Air Base Attack

20 Tamil Tigers die in air-ground assault on government installation
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2007 9:38 AM CDT
A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard near the wreckage of a helicopter which the army claims crash landed during an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels in Anuradhapura, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) north east...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Black Tigers, the Tamil rebel group in Sri Lanka, killed five and injured 22 at a government air base yesterday in their largest coordinated attack in two decades, reports the Guardian. Suicide bombers, ground forces, and small planes took part, said a spokesman for the Tigers, which lost 21 troops. The sides offered conflicting reports of damage to the base.

The air attack, utilizing small planes smuggled onto the island in pieces, is the first in 6 months, but clashes continue daily. The Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent state on the northern and eastern sections of Sri Lanka. More than 70,000 have died in the ongoing conflict, up to 5,000 of those since a ceasefire crumbled in 2005.