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Lankan troops move into last LTTE-held areas
T V Sriram in Colombo
March 06, 2009 00:56 IST
Moving further into the territory held by the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam, Sri Lankan troops on Thursday restricted the Tamil Tigers to an area of 55 sq km and killed at least 44 rebels in the embattled northern region, even as concern mounted on the safety of civilians caught in the war zone.

Troops successfully averted an infiltration attempt by the LTTE [Images] causing heavy loses to the rebel camp, the Defence Ministry said. LTTE cadres attempted to break the forward defence line linking 55 and 58 Divisions south of Chalai early today, but troops repulsed the attack and inflicted heavy damages to the Tamil Tigers, it said, adding that 33 rebels were killed in the attack.

The Ministry said a large cache of arms and ammunition were also recovered from the rebels. After liberating Puthukkudiyiruppu junction, last town held by the rebels, from the LTTE, troops of 58 division have commenced an eastward thrust towards the coast, the ministry said quoting sources, adding eight Tamil Tigers were killed in various clashes on Wednesday.

Also, troops of Task Force 8 moving towards northeast have been able to push their boundaries forward into Puthukkudiyiruppu east and claimed heavy damages to the rebel force. "The LTTE is now boxed into an area less than 55 square kilometers," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Red Cross said one of its employee working  in the north has been killed after being hit by a shrapnel. "One of our male workers was killed yesterday by shrapnel in the LTTE held area," International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Sarasi Wijeratne said. The victim was identified as Vadivel Vijayakumar, an ethnic Tamil. However, the killing of its employee has not deterred the relief agency in continuing with the humanitarian works in the region. "Despite this unfortunate incident, the ICRC will remain in the conflict area and continue with our humanitarian work," Wijeratne said.

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