Sri Lanka jets pound LTTE radar, army takes last airstrip (Lead)

February 3rd, 2009 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 3 (IANS) Fighter jets of the Sri Lankan Air Force Tuesday bombed a suspected radar point of the Tamil Tiger rebels after taking the last airstrip of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), defence authorities here said.”The target of the air raid was a LTTE radar centre and a commanding centre. The target was located 1.5 km north of the Mullaitivu lagoon. The air force confirms that the target was successfully engaged,” the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said.

The MCNS earlier said that troops of the 58 Division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva Tuesday morning captured “the seventh and apparently the last some 2-km long LTTE runway in the west of Sundarapuram”, lying northeast of Piramatharukulam in Puthukkidiyiruppu.

It said although the entire strip is about 2 km, the tarmac was only 350 metres long and 50 metrs wide.

“The tarmac had been partitioned into sixteen sections beginning from 1-16, most probably to use it as a hangar after return on completion of clandestine aerial terrorist bombing operations,” it said.

The advancing troops have already captured six airstrips and tarmacs in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts that were under the control of the rebels over the past one decade.

The LTTE is believed to be in possession of an unknown number of Czech-built Zlin Z-143 light aircraft and in the past have carried out dozens of night air-raids against military installations.

The fate of these aircraft is not known yet.

The Sri Lankan Army said last week that 95 percent of the war against the LTTE is over and the rebels are now confined to a 300 sq km area in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, facing their final battle.

In a separate report, the MCNS said the troops Tuesday morning also “uncovered a far-fetched colossal torture chamber cum an open prison of the LTTE in the west of Vishwamadhu area”.

“The entire LTTE prison complex spreading over five acres in extent has been fenced with barbed wire rolls to a height of about 10 ft and includes tiny cells, made of concrete and cement with only thin openings for ventilation,” it said. The entire complex has been guarded through four turrets of about 30-40 ft from all four corners of the precincts.

There was no reaction regarding the latest military claims from the rebel outfit, which has been fighting for the past quarter century to carve out a separate Tamil state.

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