The LTTE shooting attack on the SLAF helicopter, which was sent to bring Italian Deputy Minister Ms. Margherita Boniver, Ambassador Pio Mariani from Arugambay, was an act of defiance against Italy over its banning the Tigers as a terrorist group, Air Marshall Donald Perera told The Island yesterday.
Italy, was among the European Nations which listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and banned travel travel by members of the group in their countries.
The helicopter, an MI17 was fired upon with small arms by the LTTE close to Arugambay, where the visiting Italian Deputy Foreign Minister was staying during her visit to inspect the tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation programme in the eastern province, assisted by the Italian Government.
No one was hurt by the small arms fire, the first time the LTTE had fired on any military or civil aircraft after the ceasefire was signed in 2001.
However, the LTTE has been silent on the incident.