On 24 July 2001, 14 members of the LTTE’s Black Tiger suicide commando unit assaulted Sri Lanka’s main military and civil airports. The heavily guarded military side was struck first. The attackers initially gained access to the airbase via a gap in the perimeter fencing which was used by air force personnel for visiting women in the neighbouring commercial manufacturing district. This movement was timed to coincide with a nationwide power-cut between 21:45 and 23:15, aimed at reducing electricity consumption. The assault team proceeded to cut holes in the fencing surrounding the aircraft parking area and hangars and placed explosives on three electricity transformers, which were detonated at around 03:15, plunging the base into darkness again.