Sri Lankan army advances against LTTE-held position

July 17th, 2008 - 5:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 17 (IANS) The Sri Lankan army attack against Tamil Tigers advanced further towards the rebel-held Wanni region, authorities said Thursday, a day after soldiers captured a strategically important Sea Tiger base in the northwestern Mannar district. The military termed the Wednesday capture of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-held territories as “a remarkable victory”.

According to the military, it was the first time after the departure of Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1987 that troops have dominated the area in Mannar, located some 315 km north-west of Colombo.

“The capture of Vidataltivu area (20 km north of Mannar) is a remarkable victory for the army because the LTTE’s biggest Sea Tiger base on the western coast was located there. Their deep sea smuggling and other illegal activities are badly hit now,” military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara told reporters here.

Nanayakkara said the rebels had removed their boats and other military hardware, unable to face the military thrust targeting the Sea Tiger base during the past few days.

He said at least two Sea Tiger boats, which were fleeing the area, were destroyed by Air Force MI-24 gunship helicopters Wednesday.

Consolidating the newly captured positions, heavily fortified with LTTE landmines, booby traps and improvised explosive devices, Nanayakkara said the troops found three heavy vehicles and a motorbike left behind by the fleeing rebels.

“The troops are located three km south of Illupaikkadavai now and are marching further northwards deep into the LTTE-held areas in the north-western Mannar region,” Nanayakkara said.

Notably, neither the LTTE nor the pro-LTTE websites have said anything about the military’s claim of capturing the Vidataltivu Sea Tiger base.

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