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Sri Lanka: Army seizes more LTTE areas

November 17, 2008 17:54 IST

Advancing Sri Lankan troops today made further inroads into tiger strongholds capturing the strategic town of Mankulam just adjacent to their prized goal of Kilinochchi as reports said a worried LTTE [Images] was sending its top commanders to the battlefront.

Government troops backed by fighter jets also seized Kumalamunai near the other strong LTTE base of Mulaitivu, a military spokesman said.

However, the tigers claimed they had beaten back an attempt by Lankan troops to breach the new LTTE defence line at Muhamalai in the Jaffna Peninsula killing 20 soldiers.

Confirming the capture of Mankulam, a military spokesman said that with this the vital supply lines of the beleaguered LTTE cadres inside the Kilinochchi town had been snapped.

With the capture of the new town, the Sri Lankan forces have recaptured three strategic towns which have been under Tiger sway for over long.

Apparently, stuck by recent spate of reverses, the Tigers according to sources in the rebel-held areas have sent experienced and senior commanders to lead their forces in defending areas still held by them.

Some of the top commanders identified as, Jerry, Muhundan, Kadalparidi, Puhalendi and Sendeer are now assisting LTTEfighters in the Northern battlefront.

Sri Lankan infantry's relentless push deep into the tiger areas is being assisted by heavy carpet bombing by air Force Kfir fighter and MI-24 gunships.

Before entering the Manakulam town, Lankan troops sent commando groups to cut off a stretch of the Mankulama- Oddusudan main road yesterday.

LTTE rebels also suffered reverses and suffered heavy damage as its cadres are now caught between advancing troops and forces already entrenched in the Jaffna area.

 According to Jaffna military sources, troops have also destroyed parts of the LTTE constructed earth bund-cum-ditch defences, with some forward elements gaining control over some parts of the defences along the bund-line, the officials said.

 Army has also deployed the mechanized infantry battalion in support of the rear defences, it said quoting sources.

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