After Kilinochchi, fall of Elephant Pass imminent: Military

January 4th, 2009 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 4 (IANS) Hot on the heels of dealing a body blow to the Tamil Tigers by capturing their politico-military power centre of Kilinochchi, the Sri Lankan troops Sunday were engaged in fierce battles with the rebels to capture the next major landmark, the Elephant Pass in the north, military sources here said.Kilinochchi town is located 350 km north of here. And Elephant Pass, lying about 12 km away from Kilinochchi on the Jaffna-Kandy main highway, is the isthmus to the northern Jaffna peninsula.

According to military sources, the troops fighting their way further northwards from Kilinochchi and Paranthan “were just two kilometres away from the Elephant Pass, and its fall is imminent”.

The sources said the LTTE guerrillas were offering fierce resistance to the advancing troops “despite suffering heavy losses”.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) captured the former military garrison of Elephant Pass in April 2000 and it was then considered a major success for the rebels. If the military re-captures their former stronghold it would be considered a significant military gain in the current phase of war against the LTTE.

The fall of Elephant Pass and Muhamalai, the last LTTE strongholds located some 20 km north of Elephant Pass on the main highway, would enable the military to open the Jaffna-Kandy A-9 main supply route for the public and troops there.

“The troops in Jaffna would no longer be relying on supplies through ships. The transport on ships is very costly for the military,” a military expert said.

Meanwhile, Army Commander, Lt. General Sarath Fonseka visited the northern military bases Saturday to express his appreciation to the troops and the field commanders on the latest military victory and to review arrangements to consolidate the Kilinochchi defences.

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