Never before seen fierce fighting rages north
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Author:  Saman [ Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Never before seen fierce fighting rages north

Never before seen fierce fighting rages
LTTE had never fought such fierce battles

Friday, 27 March 2009
Source: CDN / Ranil Wijayapala

Fierce fighting engulfed in the battlefield as troops thwarted waves of LTTE Tiger offensives to infiltrate the army defence lines killing many tigers last week, the military said. Heavy fighting broke out killing many and injuring many more as Tigers attempted to breach the Puthukudiyiruppu North and Iranapalai East.

Troops have recovered bodies of Tigers as soldiers finish clearing operations, the military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.

The battlefield records indicate that the LTTE had never fought such fierce battles even in Kilinochchi which was considered to be the heart of their illusionary Tamil homeland which fell to the hands of the Security Forces in the first week of January this year.

It was same in Pooneryn, Mullaitivu and Paranthan too. But the situation has compelled the LTTE to fight such a fierce battle in Puthukudiyiruppu as they have created a theatre for their final battle in this crucial township and it had become a do or die battle for them.

As the deadly fighting outside the No Fire Zone declared by the Security Forces is almost reaching its last stages as of yesterday the Security Forces were poised to enter the most decisive phase of bringing the two and half decades long conflict to its end within the next few days.

Fierce fighting continued in Puthukudiyiruppu North and Iranapalai East as the LTTE continued its desperate attempts to push back the Security Forces from the outskirts of the No Fire Zone on Wednesday but troops fought back fearlessly foiling all their successive attempts.

The battle during the past few weeks was described as the toughest the troops have ever fought during the two and half decade long conflict to capture a township under the control of the LTTE.

LTTE has created an explosive belt in the remaining part of the Puthukudiyiruppu town to make it difficult for the Security Forces to capture the last few square kilometres of the build up area in Puthukudiyiruppu.

The battlefield records indicate that the LTTE had never fought such fierce battles even in Kilinochchi which was considered to be the heart of their illusionary Tamil homeland which fell to the hands of the Security Forces in the first week of January this year (January 02,2009).

It was same in Pooneryn, Mullaitivu and Paranthan too. But the situation has compelled the LTTE to fight such a fierce battle in Puthukudiyiruppu as they have created a theatre for their final battle in this crucial township and it had become a do or die battle for the LTTE.

The area the LTTE can operate outside the No Fire Zone have been reduced just to three square kilo metres as of yesterday and it too was tipped to be captured by the 58 Division troops under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva and 53 Division under the command of Major General Kamal Gunaratne.

Therefore, the top Tiger leaders are now entrapped inside a three to four square kilometre build up area in the East of Puthukudiyiruppu - Puthumattalan road and North of the Puthukudiyiruppu - Mullaitivu road.

Troops of the 58 Division and 53 Division are advancing further into this territory to capture the entire build up area in Puthukudiyiruppu. Therefore, it is inevitable for the remaining Tiger cadres including the top rung Tiger leader to take refuge in the No Fire Zone after crossing the lagoon stretch.

Therefore, the LTTE is trying their best to defend at least the remaining three square kilometre stretch in Puthukudiyirupu build up area at least to delay the troops advance into the edges of the No Fire Zone.

Both 58 Division and the 53 Division are operating some three kilometres away from the lagoon stretch that separates the mainland from the narrow stretch of land demarcated as the No Fire Zone, through the lagoon stretch.

Amid this situation the Tiger cadres once again launched yet another attempt to breach the Security Forces defences in Iranapalai in the North of Puthukudiyiruppu.

It was around 2 am on Wednesday that 150 to 200 cadres launched a massive counter attack on the 58 Division defences manned by 7 Sinha Regiment troops and the 8 Gajaba Regiment troops. Unlike their first two attempts to breach the 58 Division defence in Ampalavanpokkanai area from March 4 to March 8, the LTTE used medium calibre weapons to launch this attack.

At the initial attack the Tiger cadres managed to capture a 400 metre stretch of the defence line manned by the 7 Sinha Regiment. But troops managed to strengthen their second defence line and push back the Tiger cadres who attempted to infiltrate into the military controlled areas.

After hours along battle 58 Division troops with the support of the commando troops and the Special Forces troops successfully repulsed the Tiger counter attack and reestablished their defences by Wednesday evening.

However, the attempt of the LTTE was aimed at pushing back the troops towards the West of Puthukudiyiruppu - Puthumattalan road. The concern of the LTTE is to secure this road that links with the No Fire Zone through a causeway across the lagoon, to prevent civilians fleeing from the No Fire Zone using this route.

During this fierce battle scores of Tiger cadres were killed, facing yet another blow at the hands of the 58 Division troops.

The 53 Division under the command of Major General Kamal Gunaratne also faced a similar type of counter attack by the LTTE at the same period but managed to foil the LTTE attempt to breach the 53 Division defences in Puthukudiyiruppu East. Amidst this situation the 53 Division and the Task Force VIII troops under the command of Colonel G.V. Ravipriya managed to advance further Eastward from the Puthukudiyiruppu junction and they are now in the process of reaching the edge of Puthukudiyiruppu build up area. Therefore, the LTTE is losing all their links to the North, West and the South. Thus they are deprived of all their ground links.

Such massive counter attacks should be expected by the troops at any time, as the LTTE is facing huge pressure at this point of time and they want to minimize this pressure after breaking the Security Forces defences and attempting to expand their territory.

The pressure is very much high as all top level leaders, including second in command of the LTTE, Pottu Amman, Sea Tiger leader Soosai, former Jaffna military leader Theepan and his Deputy Lawrence, LTTE Women Wing leader Vithusha and other top level leaders like Lakshman are operating in this small strip of land.

Naturally the battle in this stretch turns into a tough one as all top level Tiger leaders who groomed the LTTE into such a powerful terrorist outfit are commanding the battle from a single place first to survive themselves from the advancing troops and to foil all attempts by the troops to reach the outskirts of the No Fire Zone.

When analyzing the battleground information it is quite apparent that the LTTE is still maintaining a considerable strength of their hardcore cadres, especially from the Sea Tiger Wing to launch their final assault on the Security Forces and also to provide personnel security for these top level leaders.

Besides the LTTE also has a massive stock of arms and ammunition to be used against the troops advancing into this small terrain. Therefore, they can inflict heavy casualties among the Security Forces using their hardcore cadres and the massive fire power left with them.

Therefore, a high casualty rate among the Security Forces is inevitable in the final leg of the battle which is now being unfolding in the Puthukudiyiruppu East, as the Security Forces capabilities to make use of their fire power against the LTTE has been restricted due to the presence of civilians despite LTTE making use of its all available strength against the Security Forces without any restriction disregarding the safety of the civilians

LTTE has been able to maintain this reserve strength after deploying forcibly recruited cadres into the front line to delay the troops advance into their final territory.

The civilians fleeing from the Tiger grip confirm the fact that the LTTE is engaged in a vigorous campaign to recruit civilians into the outfit and provide them weapon training and deploy them in the front lines even at this moment.

The Security Forces also confirm that many of the civilian casualties arriving in Government controlled areas through ICRC escorted ship on weekly basis are, such civilians who had fought in the battlefront and sustained injuries. Apart from this a large number of hardcore Tiger cadres were also wounded in action are also leaving the Tiger controlled areas mingling with these wounded and sick civilians arriving in the Government controlled areas through the ICRC chartered ship.

Once interrogated by the troops ten such hardcore Tiger cadres surrendered to the Security Forces after arriving in Pulmudai area during this week.

Therefore, the Security Forces have observed a tendency of many Tiger cadres deserting the outfit mingling with the civilians.

The influx of civilians into the military controlled areas has once again increased during this week with more than 3,000 civilians arriving in 58 Division area yesterday alone after crossing the lagoon stretch in Ampalavanpokkanai area.

It is apparent that the LTTE no longer can retain the civilian population with them as they are fast losing their strength as 10 to 30 Tiger cadres are being killed on daily basis in the Puthukudiyiruppu East battlefront.

It is under these circumstances the LTTE is trying their best to prevent the troops advancing into the No Fire Zone along Paranthan - Mullaitivu A-35 road as such a move will definitely separate the No Fire Zone into two areas making enough room for the civilians to flee the area with the assistance of the ground troops.

But it is quite obvious that LTTE would once again come out with its ruthlessness to restrict civilian movements as there is no existence for the LTTE without the presence of the civilians in the No Fire Zone.

As indicated by the civilians to the Security Forces the Tiger leader Velupillai Prbhakaran and his elder son Charles Anthony are still living inside the No Fire Zone mingling with the civilians as there no other place left for him to live at present.

Not only Prabhakaran, it is quite evident that other top level Tiger leaders will also flee into the No Fire Zone within the next few days once they lose control of the areas in the mainland.

The Security Forces are expecting a worst kind of reprisal attack by the LTTE garnering its full strength against the advancing troops in the form of a suicide attack.

Apart from this situation it is also obvious that the LTTE is strengthening their positions inside the No Fire Zone.

According to Sri Lanka Air Force the pilots of two aircraft who were flying over the No Fire Zone had observed that LTTE had fired two missiles targeting the two aircraft within a space of ten minutes on Wednesday around 11 a.m. But the anti missile system had protected the two aircraft enabling the pilots to take the two aircraft safely.

According to Air Force this is the third occasion the LTTE had launched missile attacks on the Air Force within the past two and half years.

At one occasion the LTTE had fired a missile towards an Air Force aircraft in Vakarai during the Vakarai operation area and another in Iranamadu area.

There is big suspicion whether these missiles were activated through an air defence system inside the No Fire Zone once Air Force aircraft flew over the sky of the No Fire Zone.

That may be from a location where Tiger Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is living inside this No Fire Zone as there have been instances where LTTE Air Defence systems got activated when Air Force aircraft passed areas where they have installed air defence systems and anti aircraft guns.

In most of these occasions these missiles have been launched from LTTE leaders’ hideouts.

But there is a growing suspicion whether the LTTE had acquired those missiles recently and smuggled them into the Vanni through their arms smuggling network through the small stretch of coast open for them in the North of Mullaitivu.

There have been strong indications that the LTTE is making use of even this narrow sea front to send their wounded cadres and also to smuggle weapons into the Vanni.

Therefore, it is evident that the LTTE is still keeping its defence systems intact even when they have reached the final leg of the battle.

It is quite evident that LTTE is trying to hang onto the No Fire Zone till the last minute as they are expecting an international intervention even at the last moment.

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