MADRAS, India, May 30, Reuter: Tamil guerrillas said today they shot down a Sri Lankan air force plane during a government offensive against them in the Jaffna peninsula. A statement issued by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from their headquarters in South India did not identify the aircraft or say how it was brought down.

The plane was hit last night soon after taking off from an army camp at Navakuli, east of Jaffna town, and troops and rebels were fighting fiercely for the wreckage, it said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Colombo government.

But officers told reporters visiting Jaffna air base earlier today, before the rebel statement, that no planes had been shot down since the offensive started on Tuesday.

They said one aircraft had been slightly damaged and another subjected to tracer fire 1,200 meters (Yards) above Jaffna.

The Sri Lankan air force has six Italian Siai-Marchetti planes, 25 US. Bell helicopters armed with machineguns, and an avro troop carrier, apart from some light planes. .

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 5, 1987