Troops capture strategic LTTE bastion: Sri Lanka

November 17th, 2008 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 17 (IANS) Sri Lankan troops Monday captured another strategic bastion of the Tamil Tigers in the island’s north, the defence ministry said Monday.It said that the troops backed by artillery fire entered Mankulam area, dealing a major blow to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Mankulam is located on the highway that connects the Sri Lankan mainland to Jaffna in the island’s northern tip.

“Troops … have entered the Mankulam area in Mullaitivu (district), following hours of heavy fighting with the LTTE,” the announcement said.

It said the troops, having cut off Sunday “a stretch of the Mankulam-Oddusuddan road, which has been consistently used by the LTTE to draw reinforcements and logistic supplies”, engaged the Tigers before marching into the town held by the rebels for the past one decade.

This is the second major LTTE bastion to fall within three days.

The military announced Saturday that the troops had captured Pooneryn, the last major naval bastion of the Tigers on the west coast.

The LTTE, meanwhile, said it had thwarted a major military offensive against their forward defence lines at Muhamalai on Jaffna peninsula in the north during the weekend.

“Twenty Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and at least 80 wounded in the fighting,” the pro-LTTE TamilNet website said. It did not give the damage caused to the rebels in the clashes.

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