On a day of fierce fighting, as per the Sri Lanka military, at least 79 cadres of the LTTE and 13 of its troops were killed and dozens others injured on Sunday in continuing battles along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in the north.
Going by the death toll given by the military and the Tigers, it is one of the bloodiest days of fighting in recent weeks.
The pro-LTTE TamilNet put the death of soldiers at 30 and said that a further 75 were injured.
A statement by the Defence Ministry issued here said that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) infantrymen backed by artillery ‘gained a significant area of ground’ by driving off the Tiger cadres on the Mannar front further into the Wanni ‘non-liberated areas.’
“As troops commenced their military onslaught early in the morning, day-long fighting was reported from Kattankulam, Udaiyadi, Munkilmurichchan, Ilantaivan areas. Also, snipers deployed in the Puliyankulam Malikaittidal, Vannakulam, Parayakulam and Ittikandal, claimed gunning down of 7 LTTE cadres,” the Ministry said.
Quoting ‘intercepted radio transmissions,’ the military claimed that 77 Tiger cadres were killed and at least 26 injured on the Mannar front alone.
It said 12 soldiers died in the battle while 29 were injured.
The Ministry claimed that during these operations, eight LTTE bunkers located at various positions on the battlefront came under the army’s control. During the search operations the body of an LTTE cadre was found.
“LTTE cadres in the frontlines were in a desperate situation in the face of military advance as the terrorists’ leaders, leading the battle from the back, failed to send sufficient reinforcements. Terror leaders Bhanu, Lakshman, Selvi and Ramesh were heard in the radios from their command posts miles behind the frontlines pleading their reserves in Palamodai area to move forward but failed as the junior cadres refused to comply,” the Ministry claimed.
Quoting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) military spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan, TamilNet claimed that at least 30 SLA soldiers were killed and 75 wounded when the LTTE’s ‘defensive formations’ in Mannar confronted a four-pronged SLA attempt to advance west of Giant’s Tanks in Mannar.
The website said that Tigers lost three cadres in the fighting that lasted from 5.30 a.m. till 1.30 p.m. “The SLA continued to target Madu area with artillery and mortar fire and sporadic clashes were reported west of Thadcha’naamaruthamadu, according to Tiger military spokesman,” it said.
The military further said that troops engaged in `limited counter terrorist offensives’ in the Jaffna theatre of operations claimed that at least two Tiger cadres were killed and 5 bunkers destroyed in day’s clashes in the Muhamalai area.