Lankan troops step up pressure on LTTE in Mullaitivu (Lead)

January 19th, 2009 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 19 (IANS) Sri Lankan troops advancing towards the last bastions of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district have stepped up attacks and captured several LTTE fortifications in the area, the military said here Monday.The military said that several LTTE hideouts in the area northwest and east of Puthukkudiyiruppu “have reportedly fallen into army hands one after the other during late Sunday when 57, 58, 59 Division troops and the Task Force II mounted heavy and surprise attacks on them”.

“The casualties among Tigers were reportedly on the very high side since they were forced to abandon some of their bunkers leaving LTTE (rebels) dead bodies and some items behind,” the army said in its web report Monday.

It said that three dead bodies of LTTE cadres along with two T-56 assault riffles, six hand grenades and a large haul of ammunitions were found by the troops during the subsequent search in the area.

MI-24 gunship helicopters of the Sri Lankan air force also raided two LTTE targets in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu areas in support of advancing troops Sunday.

The army said that the LTTE defence line, lying four km south of Mullaitivu and an LTTE mortar launching pad, located about eight km northeast of the Iranaimadhu tank, were targeted during the aerial attack.

Meanwhile, three villagers were killed and three more wounded when “an unidentified gunman with several more accomplices” opened fire at a group of cultivators at work Sunday evening at Okkampitiya Maligawa area in the southern Moneragala district.

“Three of those cultivators have died on the spot and one more has gone missing following the shooting incident. Three more had sustained injuries and were admitted to hospital,” the army said, adding that the police did not completely rule out “the possibility of the involvement of Tiger infiltrators” in this incident.

The police with the support of the troops have launched an extensive investigation into the incident.

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