Tourists in Sri Lanka airport attack return

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British tourists caught up in an attack by Tamil Tiger guerrillas on Sri Lanka's international airport arrived home safely yesterday.

Tears flowed as many of the 47 holidaymakers who found themselves in the middle of a terrorist attack in Colombo were reunited with their families at Heathrow. The separatists' assault on Bandaranaike airport and an adjacent military airbase on Tuesday left 13 Tamils and seven Sinhalese soldiers dead, 15 civilians injured and 11 aircraft in tatters.

Jimmy Bellieni, 36, said: "I lost my two children for 14 hours. I was going out of my mind with worry. It was mad. I blame the tour operators and the Sri Lankan tourist industry – they should have just told us what was going on. It's a relief to be back."

Mr Bellieni and his wife, Candace, 37, had decided impulsively to get married in Sri Lanka when she proposed to him on the plane out to his brother Steven's wedding.

The couple and their daughters Lola, three, and Leilani, nine, were forced to duck bullets before taking shelter in an abandoned café.