Army pushes further, Elephant Pass to fall next
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Author:  Guest [ Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Army pushes further, Elephant Pass to fall next

Army pushes further, Elephant Pass to fall next
"Fall of EPS is imminent; Battle for Mullaittivu begins" - MOD


03 Jan 2009

Sri Lanka's military says that air force jets and helicopters have bombed a series of rebel targets in the north and northeast as soldiers press deeper into Tamil Tiger territory a day after capturing the rebels' de facto capital.

The military says in a statement that air force jets and helicopters carried out several raids Friday and Saturday to assist infantry troops trying to reach the rebels' northern stronghold of Elephant Pass and northeastern Mullaitivu.

Elusive LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran, who received a massive blow after the fall of the rebels' political headquarters Kilinochchi, may be hiding in the key Tiger bastion of Mullaittivu, army chief Sarath Fonseka has said. Prabhakaran, 54, is likely hiding in the coastal town of Mullaittivu, Fonseka said yesterday as Sri Lankan army attacked the area around the suspected hideout of the LTTE leader.

The army chief also said the LTTE was now confined to an area of 40 kms in the embattled north of the island. Fonseka had earlier said the army's aim was to capture Prabhakaran, believed to be holed up in a bunker, alive.

According to a newspaper report, Prabhakaran lives in a sprawling air-conditioned bunker complex, located 30 feet below the ground, and comes up to the surface only in the night to avoid detection. rabhakaran's "extravagant underground bunker is constructed as per his instructions and equipped with air-conditioning and power generators," the 'Bottom Line' had said in a recent report.

"The battle for Mullaittivu has already begun," the Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka said indicating that his forces were closing on the coastal town, which is also the headquarters of sea tigers.

He said troops had captured 800-yards of a massive defensive bund and the army was just 5 kms south of the town and 3 kms south of the LTTE's main air strip also located there.

Simultaneously, the army has launched another strong pincer to seize the strategic Elephant Pass, which would give Sri Lankans a surface link to the Tamil dominated Jaffna province.

"Sri Lankan fighters heavily bombed the retreating Tiger rebels all the way to Mullaittivu," Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said. He said MI-24 helicopter gunships were providing close air support to the troops advancing to capture the Elephant Pass.

Troops are just two kms away from the Elephant Pass, Fonseka said, indicating that the fall of the Tiger bastion was imminent. "Troops of Army Task Force 1 are marching into the strategically vital Elephant Pass town," according to defence sources.

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