Troops inching towards Tiger strongholds: Military

August 22nd, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 22 (IANS) Amid fierce fighting, Sri Lankan troops backed by aerial and artillery attacks Friday captured two villages from the Tamil Tigers in the rebel-held Kilinochchi district in the north, the defence authorities said Friday. “The troops have completely taken control of Thunukkai and Uyilankulam and are presently operating just 12 km south of Kilinochchi town,” military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

He said it was too early to give details of the battle front casualties.

Kilinochchi is the administrative hub of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

According to military experts, Thunukkai, one of the LTTE’s well fortified villages, was considered strategically important for the LTTE.

“The advancing troops have faced very heavy resistance from the LTTE for the past few days. We are now operating in the Akkarayankulam tank area,” the spokesman said, adding the troops were currently consolidating their newly captured positions.

There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Air Force claimed to have bombed a suspected “logistic base” of the LTTE at Viswamadhu in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district Friday morning.

Air force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said the targeted base “was identified as one of the main LTTE logistic facilities containing vehicle spare parts and other combat items.

“The air sorties were carried out around 9.30 a.m. The target was accurately engaged, causing extensive damages to the rebel base,” he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week that tens of thousands of people have fled areas affected by fighting in the Mannar and Kilinochchi districts.

It said that although the health facilities in the area “are struggling to cope with the increased demand, they have so far been able to meet the population’s basic needs”.

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