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Lankan troops fight their way into Killinocchi

January 02, 2009 11:57 IST
Last Updated: January 02, 2009 13:03 IST

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More reports from Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan troops on Friday fought their way into the Tamil Tigers de-facto capital of Killinocchi, handing out the most stunning blow to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 25 years of running battles.

Killinocchi: The kiss of death

Troops and tanks made their way into the rebel capital from three sides this morning and were engaged in heavy fighting to clear the town of LTTE [Images] remnants, who were on the run, an official statement claimed.

Announcing the fall of the strategic town, the Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, "Three columns of troops have entered into Killinocchi town perimeters from the northern, western and southern sides."

Killinocchi will not fall, says Prabhakaran

"The full seizure of the town is imminent and our troops would be in command by this evening," he said.

There was no immediate comment from the Tigers, but their political head Balasingham Nadesan had recently said in an interview that even if Killinocchi were to fall, the LTTE would carry on a guerrilla fight against the Sri Lankans.

The Lankan troops had made LTTE defences untenable by capturing Paranthan garrison and Karadipokku junction. Using heavy artillery and tanks the government forces had also breached a defensive bund created by the Tigers.

LTTE has 15,000 armed fighters left

The Karadipokku junction is on the northern edge of the Killinocchi and its fall made the advance of the troops into the Tiger capital easier.

Latest information from the front said LTTE's '93 Base', the main command and administrative centre of LTTE female cadres, had also fallen to army.

The army sources also said that in the heavy fighting raging for the control of the town for the past six weeks had also led to killing of LTTE's support group commander, known as Ilamperiyan, who commanded the Paranthan garrison.

He was later given the self-styled 'Lt Colonel' rank, EW sources said citing LTTE communication channels. Three columns of the Sri Lankan troops are converging on Killinocchi from the east A-9 highway while two more columns have entered the town from the west and other troops have breached the southern perimeter.

Sri Lankan military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanyakkara said, "Heavy fighting is raging all round as our troops are carrying on flushing out operations."

He said the advancing Sri Lankan troops were meeting resistance from some pockets while on the whole the Tigers appeared to be on the run.

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