New Delhi: LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has been injured in an aerial raid by Sri Lankan Air Force jets, the government claimed on Wednesday night. Sri Lankan Defence Ministry sources claimed Prabhakaran sustained injuries in air
strikes on a bunker complex in Jayanthinagar, Kilinochchi, on November 26.
"Intelligence sources have confirmed this. The air raid was carried out by four fighter aircraft of the Sri Lanka Air Force around 17:25 hours on November 26," the defence ministry said. The raid was carried out following intelligence reports that the bunker complex was frequented by the LTTE head.
It is not clear how badly Prabhakaran is injured, but media reports suggest the injuries are minor. There has been no reaction from the LTTE to the Army's claim.
Prabhakaran's injury has come as a demoralising news for the rebels. A couple of months back LTTE's political head SP Tamilselvan, who had been the public face of the rebels for years, had been killed in a similar air raid.
Sri Lankan Defence Ministry spokesperson Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said acting on reliable intelligence the Air Force first carried out a successful air strike targeting the leader of the LTTE on November 26. "Attack aircraft of the Air Force carried out another air strike on the same target on November 28," he said.
The defence ministry said the Air Force has confirmed that the target was successfully destroyed amidst heavy LTTE ground to air fire towards the Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft. It said subsequent to the attack, the Air Force monitored movements around the target.
Though the Air Force believed that Velupillai Prabhakaran had been hit in the attack, non-availability of ground information to confirm it at that time prevented the government from releasing this information to the media, the ministry said.
Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said the Sri Lankan Army is apprehending a retaliatory attack by the Tamil Tigers following the incident and the "Army was prepared for it."
The Nation newspaper had first reported that Prabhakaran sustained injuries during an air raid in rebel-held areas of Kilinochchi on November 28. But the LTTE strongly denied it. "It is a lie. Nothing of that sort happened," an LTTE spokesman said.