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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
In pictures: Sri Lanka airport attack
The Tamil Tiger attack on Sri Lanka's international airport left at least 17 people dead and caused huge damage to the national airline and the country's tourist industry.

The airport was immediately shut down as hundreds of foreign tourists and workers scrambled to escape gunfire and explosions which ripped through parked aircraft and lit up the morning sky.

Planes exploding
The spectacular dawn raid left at least nine guerrillas, three civilians and five military personnel dead

Troops search after attack
Troops search the airport and surrounding area after the attack

Debris at airport
The level of destruction meant that the airport had to be closed and all incoming flights diverted to India

Destroyed aircraft
The rebels used mortars, guns and explosives to destroy 11 aircraft

Tourists had to run for their lives
Tourists at the airport said they fled for their lives when the fighting started

Destroyed planes
The Sri Lanka Air force also lost a number of planes at the military airbase nearby

Body of dead rebel
The guerrilla attack coincided with the anniversary of anti-Tamil riots in 1983

Sri Lanka soldiers go through rebel's belongings
Security was heightened at the airport after another rebel attack in 1995

Tourists who were in transit at the airport as it was attacked
British tourists who were caught up in the attack are now recuperating at a nearby hotel

See also:

24 Jul 01 | South Asia
Sri Lanka hits back at rebels
01 Jul 01 | South Asia
Senior Tamil Tiger killed
05 Jun 01 | South Asia
Tamil Tiger ambush kills six
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