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Sri Lankan forces capture Pooneryn

T V Sriram in Colombo | November 15, 2008 16:10 IST

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Sri Lankan security forces on Saturday captured the strategic northern town of Pooneryn, the last Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam bastion in the west coast, giving the forces a vital land link to Jaffna.
Lankan troops entered the main town after pitched battles with the Tiger rebels lasting over weeks, thus ending the LTTE [Images] domination of the town for nearly two decades.
"Troops of Army Task Force 1 have entered LTTE bastion at Ponneryn this morning, scoring the greatest feat against terrorist in their courageous march along the northwestern coast of the Island," the defence ministry said.It also said that troops were closing in on the LTTE stronghold of Kilionochchi, described as political capital of the Tigers.
Infantrymen successfully negotiated the great marshlands south of Pooneryn last night and cut off the Pooneryn- Paranthan road close to Nallur before dawn on Saturday.

Troops then marched about 10 kms along the highway and entered the Pooneryn town, where the LTTE have their last bastion on the West coast, the military said.
According to the defence sources, the rebel fighters are putting up a stiff resistance and  pitched battles were still going on in the area, as the Tigers were on retreat.
Meanwhile, troops completed mop up operations in the strategically located Devils Point area in Kilinochchi and declared the area fully liberated.
"With this the prominent Sea Tiger strongholds at Kiranchi, Vallaipadu and Palavi have fallen to the Army," the officials said.

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