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Pause in fighting hurt civilians: Army

LTTE utilised the period to fortify its positions and push the civilians deeper into the NFZ

PUTHUMATHALAN: Shavendra de Silva, the Officer Commanding the 58 Division and spearheading the operation to rescue the civilians told journalists on Friday that the 48-hour humanitarian pause observed by the military last week had been detrimental to the interests of the civilians.

"In those 48 hours they did not allow any civilian to leave the NFZ. The LTTE utilised the period to fortify its positions and push the civilians deeper into the Zone. We also know of several instances of forcible recruitment of young children by the Tigers for deployment on the front. Even the Government school women teachers have not been spared," he said.

The journalist team was taken by the military from Kilinochchi to Puthumathalan

The journalists witnessed rising smoke in the distance caused due to explosions from heavy mortar bombs fired by LTTE terrorists further south.

Separately, the Navy said that its personnel deployed on the seas facing the NFZ would not leave any room for LTTE leader Prabakaran and his associates to flee the country.

"Highly fortified naval defence lines and a high tech system have been put in place to monitor LTTE movements," said Karunarathne, acting Naval spokesperson. "The Navy thwarted LTTE arms smuggling operations and other activities at sea. This includes the destruction of more than 10 LTTE vessels in 2007. Naval troops have made a tremendous contribution in combating LTTE terrorism," he added. (Hindu)

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