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Lankan army clears 4 km stretch of Tamil Tigers

October 24, 2008 19:17 IST

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Continuing the momentum of its offensive, Sri Lankan troops on Friday captured another 4 km stretch and closed on to the Tamil Tigers stronghold of Kilinochchi as it also beat back a group of insurgents who tried to infiltrate one of its defence lines.

As the battlefront remained active, an army spokesman said heavy losses to the LTTE [Images] fighters have been caused during the past 24 hours, with a number of bunkers captured or destroyed.

He said security forces had cleared a 4 km stretch towards the west of Manniyankulam junction in the sector while beating back attempts to infiltrate in the Pallavarankaddu defence lines.

The officials said the army last evening captured a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam strongpoint named 'Aneel' along with some bunkers in Gajabapura area in northern Mullaitivu, which fell to government forces on Thursday.

In its advance the army had to defuse many improvised explosive devices and mines. "Troops continue conducting search operations and consolidating further in the area," the Media Centre for National Security said.

Meanwhile, Battlefield reports said the Army 57 Division and the Task Force No 1, which are spearheading the assault on Kilinochchi, maintained progress.

Troops moved about two km north of the Manniyankulam, Therumurukandai road from the east of Akkaraynkuam tank bund and attacked the LTTE groups hiding in the area, the military said.

"Troops claimed heavy damages to the LTTE and during search operations found one T-56 rifle and some arms," it said.

Defence ministry sources said security forces were advancing deeper into the territory held by Tamil Tigers and had captured several strongholds of the guerrillas.

Meanwhile, troops of the Army 573 and 574 brigades, flanking the Kilinochchi front from the east continued their thrust towards Jaffna on Thursday.

Troops of the 582 brigade, heading northwards from Manniyankulam, launched a limited offensive last morning to eliminate the LTTE hiding places located north of the Manniyankulam-Therumurukandai road, the ministry said.

However, troops of 583 brigade heading south, towards Nachchikudha in Kilinochchi, continued destroying the remaining LTTE footholds located east of the A-32 road, the army said.

The defence ministry also said troops attacked an LTTE bunker located five km west of the A-32 road in the Pallavarayankaddu area in the region last morning and that heavy damages to the LTTE was reported.

During subsequent search, troops found a body of a slain LTTE cadre, it said.

LTTE cadres also suffered heavy damages in an attack launched by the troops in the Mandimuruppu area in Vavuniya on Thursday, the MCNS said.

In Mullaittivu, troops and the LTTE were involved in confrontations in Maankulam, Andankulam and Otiyamale area, the MCNS said, adding the Tigers suffered losses in these clashes.

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