Over 10,000 civilians held hostage by LTTE rescued: Sri Lanka

May 17th, 2009 - 11:56 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, May 17 (IANS) Sri Lankan troops have rescued more than 10,000 civilians held hostage by the Tamil Tigers in a small strip of land on the island’s north, the defence ministry said Sunday.
“The hostages breached through the LTTE inner cordon leaving terrorists in total disarray,” the ministry said on its website.

The rescue operation was carried out amid attacks by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels at the Wadduvakal causeway in Sri Lanka’s northeastern coast which the army claimed to have liberated from the rebels Saturday.

The injured were shifted for medical attention, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said two senior LTTE leaders - Swarnam and Shashikumar master - were killed in the conflict with the security forces in Vellamullivaikkal Sunday morning.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday declared that the Tamil rebels have been defeated militarily, although pockets of resistance continued to be reported in the country’s northeast.

“I am proud to announce that my government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE,” Rajapaksa said in a statement from Jordan.

He stressed that the military was on the verge of ending the 25-year old conflict, in which the LTTE has been fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils.

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