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 Post subject: 12 soldiers killed, 16 missing as pitched battles rage
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:54 pm 
12 soldiers killed, 16 missing as pitched battles rage
Troops Capture Key Northern Location - Nedunkerni


@ LL /Sunday December 21, 2008

At least 12 soldiers were killed and 16 went missing in action as heavy fighting continued to rage across Sri Lanka’s embattled north, causing heavy damages to the Tamil Tigers, military said Sunday.The Ministry of Defence said that pitched battles broke out in the early hours of Saturday at Iranaimadu, a village adjacent to Kilinochchi, when the Tigers launched dawn-to-dusk attacks to retake some of the strategic areas they lost to advancing troops barely a week ago.

“Troops of the Army 57 Division successfully thwarted an LTTE counter offensive launched in the north of Iranaimadu area at around 6 a.m. During the battle that lasted till 6 p.m., 12 soldiers laid down their lives while 16 others went missing,” the defence ministry said Sunday.

“Intercepted terrorist radio transmission revealed heavy damages to the LTTE,” it said, adding that 34 government soldiers also suffered injuries during these clashes.

In support of the ground troops battling the rebels, Israeli-built Kfir and Russian-built MiG-27 fighter jets of the Sri Lankan Air force from early Saturday carried out “seven successive air strikes targeting LTTE defences and strategic locations in Wanni, causing heavy damages to the LTTE”.

“Heavy payloads were dropped with precision at identified LTTE positions. (These) sorties were launched in support of navy and the advancing Task Force-1 and 57 Division troops at the Wanni battlefront,” the defence ministry said.

The pro-rebel Tamilnet website quoting LTTE sources in the Wanni said: “The LTTE counter-offensive unit carried out a pre-emptive strike on Sri Lankan Army (SLA)offensive formation in Murikandi-Iranaimadu area Saturday, killing at least 60 soldiers.”

“The SLA was pushed back two km, and the Tigers said they have recovered 12 dead bodies of SLA soldiers so far in the clearing mission,” the TamilNet web report said, claiming that the pre-emptive strike was carried out by the rebels as the military was preparing for another offensive push.

"We have not pulled back, we are in the same locations," Army said.

In the mean time, Task Force 4 (TF4) has taken control of the Nedunkerny town on the Mullativu – Puliyankulam road after fierce battles throughout Saturday, Sri Lanka Army’s website said. The captured town lies about 19 km northeast of Puliyankulam. The fall of Nedunkerni will provide rod access to the troops to all three important locations, Puliyankulam, Oddusudan and Mullaithivu. "This will help us tremendously in the future operations" Army said.

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