Sri Lanka to run flights to former rebel capital

10:34, July 22, 2011      

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Sri Lanka's air force is set to open commercial flights to the former Tamil Tiger rebel capital of Kilnochchi in the island's north.

"This service will commence on July 28 and it will be a weekly flight on Thursdays", said Andy Wijesuriya, the air force spokesman.

He said a light aircraft like a Y12 would be deployed in the service.

The inauguration of commercial flights to Kilinochchi came after the air force on Tuesday opened its air strip built on a former rebel training facility.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) based its administrative capital in Kilinochchi when it ran separate state in the north and east parts of the island.

Kilinochchi had a stream of foreign dignitaries and aid agency officials making frequent visits to meet with the rebel leadership.

They landed by helicopter in government controlled areas before crossing the rebel forward defense lines to enter rebel territory.

Sri Lanka's air force destroyed the rebel group's own air strips by persistent air raids before Kilinochchi fell under the government's control in Jaunary 2009.

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