Sri Lankan ground troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday fought pitched battles on the ‘outskirts’ of the rebel’s key stronghold of Kilinochchi in the north, the defence ministry said.
“Task Force 1 troops today (Friday) reached the northern boundaries of the Kilinochchi built up and started pounding the LTTE strongholds in the Adampan area,” the ministry said.
Adampan is located few kilometers west of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) “administrative capital” of Kilinochchi, lying some 350 km north of Colombo.
Sri Lankan Air Force has deployed its Russian-built MI-24 gunship helicopters to target the rebel groups that were putting up counter offensives against the advancing ground troop.
The defence ministry also said that the troops on Friday “captured three LTTE bunkers and a battle trench located nine km west of Kilinochchi town”.
“During the subsequent search, troops found two bodies of slain LTTE cadres and five T-56 rifles. Troops are continuing their march towards Kilinochchi,” the ministry report said, adding that the rebels have put up another earth bund encircling the Kilincochchi built up to slow down the military advance.
There was no word from the LTTE regarding the fresh military claims.
The LTTE last week lost its strategic strongholds of Pooneryn in the western coast and Mankulam in southern end of areas under its control nearly after a decade, as it prepares to commemorate its fallen cadres in the third week of November. The week-long event ends with an annual speech by LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
The LTTE has been fighting to carve out a separate state in the northeast for a quarter century. Thousands have died in escalating fighting between the army and the LTTE since late 2005.