Sri Lankan troops capture new LTTE territories

June 26th, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 26 (IANS) Sri Lankan troops, backed by heavy artillery and aerial bombing, Thursday captured new territories including a village held by the Tamil Tigers in the northwestern district of Mannar, the military said. “The troops captured seven square kilometres of area, including Periyamadu village,” military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told IANS.

Brig. Nanayakkara said the troops engaged in fierce offensive operations in the northern Wanni, northeastern Weli Oya and Mannar regions “have altogether captured not less than 800 sq km” over the past one year.

The defence ministry said at least 12 guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in fighting Thursday in Mannar.

It said helicopter gunships of the air force provided “tactical fire support” to the troops by raiding identified LTTE positions ahead of the existing Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) north of Andankulam in Mannar.

The fighter jets also bombed “an LTTE training base” at Vellankulam area, 20 km north of Vidattaltivu also in Mannar, the authorities said.

“The target was accurately hit. Exact damage caused to the enemy is yet to be verified,” the defence ministry said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Tigers regarding the military claims.

Tens of thousands have been killed in the dragging armed conflict in Sri Lanka, where the LTTE is fighting for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority.

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