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 Post subject: Troops capture Tora Bora camp
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:23 am 
Troops capture Tora Bora camp
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Late Sunday, the commandos began climbing the 2 1/2-mile-long rocky Narakamulla plateau, where the Tigers had kept a network of observation posts overlooking much of the area. The plateau and several other nearby outcroppings were dubbed "Tora Bora" by the tigers because the caves and crannies made it an ideal hiding place to use for guerrilla warfare, much like the Tora Bora area in Afghanistan, army officials said.

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@ DM By Sunil Jayasiri / Agencies
Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Advancing government troops yesterday captured LTTE’s strategically important ‘Tora Bora’ camp of the Four-six base in Narakamulla west, a few miles away from Thoppigala, while the LTTE’s Eastern Mortar Leader was killed during the latest clashes in the area, a military official said.

He said the Tigers were now confined to about 50 to 60 square kilometers.

Meanwhile, the Air Force bombed three LTTE targets in the Thoppigala area yesterday afternoon.

A senior military official in the area said the ‘Tora Bora’ camp was one of the main Tiger training bases in the region.

“Commandos seized the strategically important training base, which had been in existence for several years training a large number of cadres,” the official said. The camp was captured after nearly 15 years.

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Late Sunday, the commandos began climbing the 2 1/2-mile-long rocky Narakamulla plateau, where the Tigers had kept a network of observation posts overlooking much of the area.

The plateau and several other nearby outcroppings were dubbed "Tora Bora" by the rebels because the caves and crannies made it an ideal hiding place to use for guerrilla warfare, much like the Tora Bora area in Afghanistan, army officials said.

At dawn Monday, the fighters had fled, but they left behind a maze of booby traps that could take days to clear, said Col. D. Gunawardane, head of the commando battalion that seized the area.

Last Saturday, troops killed Tiger Mortar eastern unit leader ‘Colonel’ Sugandan Master along with seven other LTTE cadres during a battle in the Narakamulla area.

According to the military, there are some 200 cadres operating in the Thoppigala area under the leadership of Jeyam. The military said that the remaining cadres were now trying to flee from the area, but due to preventive action a large number of cadres are getting killed almost on a daily basis.

A top army commander on the ground said the operation will conclude by the end of July and bring all of eastern Sri Lanka under government control for the first time since 1994, dealing a major blow to the Tigers.

Some 800 square kilometers of territory have now been cleared out of an area of nearly 860 square kilometers including vacated positions.

The commandos also found a string of abandoned rebel outposts and gave a tour to journalists Monday. One was a small fort of logs and mud, with a roof of grass, dug into the ground beneath a tree. A UNICEF mat lay next to the entrance.

A metal cage, apparently used as a cell by the Tigers to hold prisoners, was hidden beneath a tree a short distance away.

Fearing traps, soldiers were careful to walk only on paths that had already been certified as cleared by minesweepers combing the area with metal rakes.

Commandos also discovered a wire strung across the path leading to a booby trap of two mortar shells, a mine and a car battery planted two feet from the path.

Sappers carefully uncovered the trap, put explosives of their own in the hole and detonated the makeshift bomb.

In other captured areas, the government has sent in bulldozers to tear up the fields on both sides of the road to make sure there are no mines.

The residents have all fled the fighting, leaving only small herds of abandoned cows wandering in the fields.


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