Sri Lankan army says overruns Tiger town in Jaffna
Sri Lankan troops overran a Tamil Tiger-held town in an intensifying battle on the strategic Jaffna Peninsula, the military said.
Sri Lankan troops overran a Tamil Tiger-held town and the air force destroyed rebel artillery and boats in an intensifying battle on the strategic Jaffna Peninsula, the military said on Thursday.
Troops are sandwiching the Tiger rebels from the north and south on the 6-km (4-mile) wide neck of the northern peninsula that connects it to the rest of the Indian Ocean island.
"Troops captured Pallai today, going forward from yesterday's positions, and are getting closer to Elephant Pass," military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. "There are small pockets of fighting and the terrorists are withdrawing."
Pallai is a village on the northern front being attacked by two divisions, about 8 km (5 miles) north of Elephant Pass.
Elephant Pass is a strategic former army base at the entry to Jaffna that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) captured in 2000 in a stinging defeat for the army.
Later, soldiers just south of there captured Murusumadai junction, on another road toward the Tigers' dwindling strongholds on the east coast around the port of Mullaittivu.
War planes on Thursday blew up two large boats in Chundikulam and two artillery guns there being withdrawn to Mullaittivu, and again attacked inbound reinforcements, air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.
Chundikulam is east of Elephant Pass, on the other very narrow isthmus linking Jaffna to the main island's east coast.
Reuters Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2009, 16:00