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Lankan troops moving towards Mullaittivu

T V Sriram in Colombo | January 04, 2009 21:56 IST

Sri Lankan troops on Sunday entered a key town on the road to the last remaining Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam stronghold Mullaittivu and were within striking distance of the vital Elephant Pass as the army said the operation to capture Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was on course.

Fresh from their takeover of rebel 'capital' Kilinochchi, troops entered the strategically vital Oddusuddan town located along the Mankulam-Mullaittivu main road following day-long fighting, the military said.

The junction had been used by the LTTE [Images] for administrative and logistic purposes as it has direct route access towards Mullaittivu. Troops were engaged in further consolidating operations in north and west of Oddusudan, it said.

Air Force jets raided two LTTE targets in east of Paranthan and Elephant Pass, a vital area which was lost to the Tigers in 2000. The troops were said to be within a sniffing distance of the corridor and if it is captured, a land link to Jafna peninsula will be re-established.

MI-24 helicopter gun ships of the Sri Lanka [Images] Air Force also carried out air strikes targeting LTTE 'gathering places' in northeast of Kilinochchi and east of Paranthan on Sunday afternoon, SLAF spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.

The military, confident after the retaking of Kilinochchi after 10 years, said they are taking the offensive to the Mullaittivu jungles and will hunt down LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

"Prabhakaran should be around the jungles of Mullaittivu area... he will not stay in one place. He will have alternative places to stay. But anyway he will be restricted to Mullaittivu district," army spokesman Brig Uday Nanayakkara was quoted as saying by the media.

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