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DateLine Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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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.


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