Two planes from the 'TamilEelam Air Force' bombed the general area of the 223 Brigade, Area HQ Weli Oya and a gun position highly inaccurately in another psychological bombing run around 1.40am today in the Weli Oya FDL. Only one soldier was injured in the bombing.
The planes retreated, flying just above the canopy of vegetation towards Mulaithivu South from where they operate a small landing strip. It is very difficult for the SLAF to engage these low flying planes in this sector due to vegetation, low-level flying etc.
The Zlin 143 TAF planes dropped 3 homemade gravity bombs. Before that, during almost the entire day yesterday, the LTTE fired volume after volume of artillery at the SLA FDL in Weli Oya killing 4 soldiers and injuring another 45. The Tigers kept moving the guns as is customary and an airstrike called in around 5pm did not stop the fire completely.
Ground sources say the LTTE does not operate artillery positions. They do not construct billets or prepare an area as an artillery field to fire from. Instead, they tow and drag canons around closely followed by a truck full of several dozen rounds of artillery shells and fire from location to location as them move.
These 'Mobile Artillery' pads are difficult to hit as the window of opportunity for hitting them is low since their location cannot be pin pointed for long. Despite having several COIN aircrafts and the capacity to purchase more, the SLAF is handicapped with fast jet bombers who are good at raiding only Kilinochchi.
Meanwhile, after a hugely unsuccessful and blundering performance at Muhamalai as the CO of the 53 Division, Brigadier and VIP protection Commando Officer Samantha Sooriyabandara has been removed from the post of Commander 53 Division. He has been replaced by the 55 Division Commander brigadier Kamal Gunaratne.
The 55 Division is now under one of the best and most highly committed officers; Brigadier and Special Forces Officer Prasanna Silva. Brigadier Silva took over command at a small function yesterday. His brilliant leadership and strategy led to the capture of Mavil Aru and Vakarai. His new task however, will be a considerable challenge especially against a determined and well entrenched foe in Jaffna.