Senior LTTE military leader dies of heart attack

May 21st, 2008 - 3:08 am ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, May 20 (IANS) A senior military commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ‘Brigadier’ Balraj died Tuesday afternoon of heart attack in the rebel-held Wanni region, the pro-rebel media website said. “Brigadier Balraj, a senior and a special commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), passed away Tuesday at 2 p.m. of a heart attack in Wanni,” the pro-LTTE Tamilnet website quoting LTTE’s headquarters sources said.

“Brigadier Balraj was the first commander of the LTTE’s conventional fighting formation, Charles Antony Brigade, established in 1991 and he served as a key commander in LTTE’s major operations, including the LTTE operation on the SLA garrison in Elephant Pass in 2000,” it said.

The LTTE leadership has announced a three-day mourning May 21-23.

Balraj is the second LTTE leader to be posthumously conferred by the rebel leadership the self-style rank of a Brigadier, after its political wing head S.P. Thamilselvan, who was killed in a Sri Lanka Air Force air raid November last year.

“He was an expert on different forms of warfare, including psychological operations, and deployed different tactics during the planning and the conduct of the operations,” the web report said, adding Balraj has commanded the Charles Antony Brigade between 1991-1993 and between 1995-1997.

Following the February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, Balraj went out of the country and had a heart surgery in Singapore in 2003 with the permission of the government of Sri Lanka.

It also said that Balraj was hospitalised for three months earlier this year, but had engaged himself in Mannar and Manalaru war fronts in between his medical treatments.

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