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 Post subject: Sri Lanka Destroys LTTE Flotilla, Raids Financial Center
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:07 pm 
Sri Lanka Destroys LTTE Flotilla, Raids Financial Center
30 Sea Tiger boats destroyed

The boats were spotted off the coast of the rebel stronghold of Mullaithivu and the navy, with air support, engaged them, an official said. The base from which the boats were launched was also attacked causing a fire, he said.

@ Agencies / MSNS
Friday, September 14, 2007


Sept. 14 (Colombo) -- Sri Lankan Navy vessels and air force jets attacked a LTTE flotilla and the launching base at Mullaittivu late yesterday as the Sea Tigers unit was ``preparing for a clandestine mission,'' the army said. Military forces destroyed about 30 boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The boats were spotted off the coast of the rebel stronghold of Mullaithivu and the navy, with air support, engaged them, an official at the Defense Ministry's information center said on condition of anonymity.

The rebel naval base from which the boats were launched was also attacked causing a fire, he said, adding that details of casualties were not available.

SLAF attacked LTTE financial center in the northeast after earlier yesterday, the government said. Air force jets bombed the LTTE's financial center at Puthukuduiruppu, near Mullaittivu, yesterday morning.
At least 12 bombs exploded near a college in the town, injuring several students, TamilNet reported on its Web site, without saying where it obtained the information.

A statement by the Defence Ministry said the target of SLAF fighter jets was a vital strategic location of the LTTE. It claimed that the centre was accurately hit by the Kfir and MiG 27 fighter jets around 8.20. a.m.

“Defence intelligence sources described the target as the operational base of the LTTE’s financial wing leader Thamilendi. The attack followed gathering of information through both ground and air surveillance carried out for a long period”, the Ministry said.

Quoting civilian sources in Wanni, the Ministry said Thamilendi is known to be one of the “most corrupt” LTTE leaders after its intelligence wing leader, Pottu Amman. The Ministry said since the LTTE’s global fund-raising mechanism was badly hit by counter-terror measures taken by various countries, the financial wing of the LTTE is said to have encountered a serious shortage of money to pay its cadre as well as to maintain the “luxurious lives” of its leaders. The Ministry said, to overcome the difficulties, the LTTE increased its illegal tax collections and set up gangs to rob civilians.

Sri Lanka's military has increased attacks on the Sea Tigers and LTTE land forces since taking control of the east in July after 14 years of fighting, dealing a blow to the group's demands for a separate homeland in the north and east of the South Asian island nation.

The army intends to drive the LTTE from the northeast, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said last month. The group still holds areas in the northern Jaffna peninsula, including its headquarters at Kilinochchi.

Three LTTE vessels carrying military supplies were destroyed Sept. 11 off the southern coast. The navy has eliminated most of the vessels used by the group for weapons smuggling, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda said at a briefing three days ago.

Sea Base

Sri Lanka's army on Sept. 2 captured a sea base in the Silavathurai area near the northwestern port of Mannar and said it was used by the LTTE as a weapons transit center. India and Sri Lanka have increased patrols in the Palk Strait between the countries to stop the rebels transporting weapons.

A leader of the Sea Tigers unit was among six commanders killed in a sea battle off the eastern coast last month, the Defense Ministry said at the time.

Yesterday's raid targeted the alleged head of the LTTE's financial wing, a man known as Thamilendi, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

``Defense observers say that the pilots' achievement would add to the woes of the LTTE, which is drawing nearer to its end,'' the ministry said.

The Tamil Tigers have increased illegal tax collections since its global money raising efforts were curtailed by anti- terrorism legislation in various countries, it said. The LTTE is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European Union and India.

The conflict between the government and the LTTE escalated a year ago as two attempts at peace talks in Geneva failed to make progress toward ending the two-decade insurgency.

The Tamil Tigers have an estimated 12,000 fighters, including 4,000 members of the Sea Tigers force.


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