Lankan troops closing in on Kilinochchi, smash “last major defence” of city

Lankan troops closing in on Kilinochchi, smash “last major defence” of city

Colombo: Sri Lankan troops pierced through the “last major defence" of the LTTE in the south of its stronghold of Kilinochchi, capturing 19 heavily fortified rebel bunkers despite “poisonous gas attacks" on them, the military said today.

The army admitted suffering casualties in the intense fighting with the rebels near the LTTE political capital, but did not give any figure.

“The Army’s 57 division troops pierced LTTE-built earth bund in Akkarayankulam, the LTTE’s last major defence in the south of Kilinochchi build-up yesterday," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

“According to the available information, several soldiers made their ultimate sacrifice for the nation while many others suffered injuries during this battle. Many of the own casualties were due to booby traps," it said.

The military said troops captured a three-km stretch of the rebel defence line and captured 19 bunkers during their offensive.

“Troops launched the offensives last morning with two main thrusts attacking the west and the east of the Akkarayankulam tank. Army infantryman moving from the west of the tank scored a major success against the LTTE with capture of two-km stretch on the earth bund and the 19 terror bunkers," it said.

Troops moving from east of Akkarayankulam tank had to slow down their advance at initial stages as the LTTE launched “poisonous gas attacks at them", it said.