Military thwarts Tiger bid to attack Chalai

Security forces thwarted an attempt by Tiger guerillas to breach the forward defence lines south of Chalai on the northeastern coast on Friday, killing at least 32 LTTE cadres, as heavy fighting in this area and elsewhere continued to aggravate the plight of the civilians trapped in the fast-shrinking rebel-held territory.

The abortive attack came as heavy fighting was reported in Palamattalan, Tamarakulam and Puthukkudiyirippu in the Mullaitivu district.

On Friday the military declared that the LTTE had now been confined to an area of 45 sq. km area.
In areas south of Palamattalam, infantrymen of the 58 Division made advances, killing 11 LTTE cadres and wounding a dozen, while troops of 12 Gemunu Watch, operating in Tamarakulam uncovered bodies of 14 LTTE cadres. Four of them were women cadres. They also recovered 36 T-56 assault rifles, 02 LMG weapons, 15 hand grenades and six communications sets. In a subsequent search operation, the security forces found another LTTE body along with 10 T-56 assault rifles, one T-81 assault rifle and a GPS set.

Troops continuing offensive operations in the Puthukkudiyirippu area have engaged identified LTTE resistance positions, killing six LTTE cadres and injuring 13 others. During subsequent search operations, troops uncovered an LTTE body, four assault rifles, an I-com set and three underground containers.

Troops of the 58th Division engaged in operations in the Visvamadu area in the Mullaitivu district were able to uncover a guerilla armaments factory and a fuel depot on Wednesday.

Among the haul found by the troops were 22,500 bullets, 4,000 landmines, one RPG, 15 mortars, two T 56 guns, 61 hand grenades, four pressure bombs, communication equipment, 20 kilos of explosives and three barrels of diesel.

The military victories came as the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross this week expressed concern over the plight of the civilians. The government has set up a safe zone and safe routes, but the military claims the LTTE was preventing the civilians from fleeing the rebel-held enclave.

Defence officials said LTTE cadres were directing artillery fire from the safe zones declared by the government for the civilians.

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