Northern theatre of war:
Battle enters decisive phase
The Security Forces are poised to push the LTTE totally into the No
Fire Zone within the next few hours completely flushing them out from
the build up areas in Iranapalai East, Puthukudiyiruppu East as three
offensive Divisions further crushed LTTE fighting capabilities on the
last leg of the final battle outside the No Fire Zone yesterday.
Battleground sources told the Daily News yesterday that the 58
Division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva and 53 Division
commanded by Major General Kamal Gunaratne are poised to take control of
the last supply route linked to the No Fire Zone today to completely
deny LTTE access to Iranapalai East from the No Fire Zone.
”Once this route is captured by the Security Forces the LTTE will be
denied access to the mainland from the No Fire Zone”, a senior military
official told the Daily News. ”Therefore, the coming few hours will be
very decisive for the Security Forces”, the official added.
According to military officials, 1,648 civilians arrived in Security
Forces controlled areas under the 58 Division yesterday.
That was a considerable increase in the flow of civilians into
Security Forces controlled areas compared to past few days and there
were strong indications from the fleeing civilians that the number would
further increase within the next few days.
Intense fighting raged in Iranapalai East yesterday as 58 Division
troops confronted by scores of Tiger cadres engaged in defending the
last terrain from the advancing troops.
“The 58 Division troops captured two cabs and a truck mounted with
anti aircraft guns during the fierce battle that raged yesterday in
Iranapalai East”, the official added.
Meanwhile, troops attached to the Task Force VIII under the
supervision of Colonel G. V. Ravipriya and the command of 53 Division
advanced further Northward from the A-35 road further shrinking the
areas under LTTE control.
The 53 Division troops also attacked a number of vehicles including
motorbikes which were plying on the only route linking the No Fire Zone
and the Tiger defences killing a number of Tiger cadres.
The 55 Division under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva also
engaged in a fierce battle with the LTTE in the North of Puthumattalan
and expanded their defences towards the Northern edge of the No Fire
Zone yesterday too, sources added.
“Tiger cadres made desperate attempts to stop the troops advance into
the No Fire Zone”, sources added. Scores of Tiger cadres including Sea
Tiger leaders were killed during the fierce battles as ground troops
also foiled major attempts by the LTTE Sea Tiger cadres to launch an
assault on the 55 Division troops who are operating in a narrow stretch
of land in the North of Puthumattalan, sources added.