Tigers strike Colombo in air raid

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Rebel planes belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have carried out bombing raids close to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Two oil facilities were hit by the bombings, triggering an air raid alert and consequent power loss in the capital while many Sri Lankan people tried to watch their team in the cricket World Cup final.

Hospital officials said six people were injured, with two people in intensive care and witnesses heard gunfire in response to the explosions from the Tiger raid.

A Sri Lankan defence spokesman told the Reuters news agency that four bombs were dropped and there had been "no human damage".

A spokesperson for Shell Gas added that there was an explosion and a fire and there had been "some damage" as well as power failure.

The Tamil Tigers said two aircraft carried out the attacks and returned back to base safely. It is believed the rebels have between two and five light aircraft assembled from different parts smuggled into Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan air force jets responded to the attacks by bombing Tamil strongholds, marking the continued escalation in the conflict.

The LTTE wants an independent territory for ethnic Tamils in the country, but peace accords that had been in place are now dead in all but name as the violence continues unabated.

The Sri Lankan government and the LTTE signed a ceasefire agreement in 2002 and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was created to monitor any violations in the agreement.

Since the civil war began in Sri Lanka, 68,000 people have died and the violence has intensified in the past two years.

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