LTTE ammunition dump bombed, troops near rebel bastion

November 17th, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 17 (IANS) Sri Lankan jets bombed suspected Tamil Tiger targets, including an ammunition dump, as troops closed in on another key rebel stronghold in the north, the military said Monday. Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said the jets undertook two bombing raids between 7.30 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. Sunday around one kilometre southeast of Palai in support of the ground troops.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) took the hits, the military said.

“The first raid targeted an LTTE ammunition dump and the second a transit camp meant for reinforcing cadres to the northern front. Pilots confirmed that the targets were hit accurately,” Nanayakkara told IANS.

The defence ministry said the troops, which are trying to capture areas held by the LTTE, had started marching towards the strategically important Mankulam junction on the Kandy-Jaffna highway.

“The infantry battalions commenced marching towards Mankulam amidst heavy mortar shelling from LTTE. Although LTTE has sent hundreds of cadres to stall the military advances, it has only resulted in soaring LTTE casualties,” the ministry said.

It said the advancing troops had succeeded in cutting off “a stretch of the Mankulam-Oddusuddan road which has been consistently used by the LTTE to draw reinforcements and logistic supplies”.

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

In Sri Lanka’s east, a doctor attached to the base hospital in Batticaloa hospital was shot dead by unknown gunmen Sunday night.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the doctor, who hailed from Gampola in the central hill district of Kandy, was meeting patients in the war when he was called out and shot.

“We suspect this was the work of the LTTE,” Nanayakkara said.

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