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 Post subject: Tigers In Retreat
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:32 pm 
Tigers In Retreat
Sri Lanka rebels halt offensive: Tiger source

LTTE chose to overrun the predominately Muslim town, MUTTUR as a diversionary tactical military manoeuvre to "Operation Water Shed" conducted by Sri Lankan troops to capture Mavil Aaru dam in Trincomalee district. At least 152 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in artillery and air attacks by the Sri Lankan security forces as the troops took full control over Muttur, the Defence Ministry said today

Saturday, August 5, 2006
Source: Agencies/LL


COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have halted an offensive on government-held town in eastern Sri Lanka and are pulling back to their original positions, a Tiger source said on Saturday.

The pull-back comes after days of shelling and mortar bomb and artillery duels around the eastern town of Mutur, where Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels infiltrated the town and were locked in firefights with the military.

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"The offensive operation in Mutur has stopped and the LTTE is going back to its former positions in our own territory," the Tiger source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "It was a limited operation, and we are doing this on humanitarian grounds," the source added. The military, however, said the Tigers continued to fire mortars in the east, which the army responded to with artillery.

LTTE chose to overrun the predominately Muslim town, Muttur as a diversionary tactical military manoeuvre to "Operation Water Shed" conducted by Sri Lankan troops to capture Mavil Aaru dam in Trincomalee district. On July 20, the LTTE had closed the sluice gates of the dam which was supplying water to 15, 000 families and irrigating 30,000 acres of paddy land in a government-controlled area.

The ensuing mortar and artillery shell attacks on the town by the tigers and the Sri Lankan troops rendered nearly 50,000 Muslims displaced depriving them of basic needs, food, water and urgent medical treatment for the wounded moreover the schools and hospitals were also not spared.

Security Forces have now effectively foiled the tiger attempt forcing their cadres to retreat, leaving behind weapons and communications sets.

At least 152 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in artillery and air attacks by the Sri Lankan security forces took full control over Muttur, the Defence Ministry said today.

With the help of artillery and air attacks, troops inflicted heavy losses on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) yesterday in and around the town of Muttur in Trincomalee district, a ministry spokesman said.

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"We have an estimated 152 Tigers killed and 124 injured, mainly in the air attacks carried at their key base of Foul Point," military spokesman Upali Rajapakse said. "...only 12 sailors (were) wounded in Friday's attacks."

The Defence Ministry said the attack was the final confrontation with the guerrillas in the clashes, which erupted on Wednesday with a heavy artillery attack on the Muslim town by Tiger rebels. The two sides had been engaged in fierce fighting over a disputed irrigation canal in the region.

"Naval troops who were vigilant and expecting the failing attempt of Tamil Tigers managed to identify the wave of assault from all corners, annihilated all of them," the ministry said in a statemnent, adding the troops took full control over Muttur.

There was no immediate reaction from the Tamil Tigers to military claims of casualties, but the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website reported that the Air Force had last evening bombed and destroyed a ferry inside the rebel territory. The Tamilnet gave no details. However, it said about 10,000 people had fled Muttur.

Local officials said about 15,000 residents of Muttur and surrounding areas had moved to the safer town of Kantalai, where four schools accommodated them. International relief agencies sought an immediate halt to the fighting so that much needed supplies could be distributed. "We in the humanitarian community ... are gravely concerned about the alarming violence in areas of Trincomalee district," they said in a statement yesterday.

"Muttur has suffered severely as a result of shelling and lack of access has hampered our ability to provide assistance to civilians in dire need of urgent help."

There were no reports of fresh fighting this morning.

The LTTE said Sri lanka's army was carrying out indiscriminate shelling that claimed heavy casualties among civilians.

"The Sri Lanka army's indiscriminate artillery shelling that has continued since July 31 has put civilians in great danger," the LTTE said, claiming that Muslim civilians had been killed by security forces.

Muslim legislators said a total of 27 civilians had been killed in Muttur since Thursday.

Muslims are the second-largest minority in Sri Lanka, accounting for about 7.5 per cent of the 19.5 million population. Tamils are about 12.5 per cent and about 70 percent are Sinhalese.


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