Lankan Air Force bombs Sea Tiger base in Mullaitivu

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Colombo, Jan 11: Amidst fierce clashes between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the Mannar and Wanni region, supersonic ground attack fighter jets of the Sri Lankan Air Force today bombed a 'LTTE Sea tiger base located at Allampil' in the rebel-heartland of northern Mullaitivu area.

''Pilots confirmed that the targeted LTTE sea tiger base was destroyed due to the bombardment,'' the Defence Ministry said. The air raid occurred at a time when the government troops and the fighting units of the LTTE locked regular fierce fighting in the north-western Mannar district. There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE in this regard.

At least 24 LTTE cadres have been killed during various clashes in the region yesterday, the ministry claimed, adding only a couple of soldiers were wounded during these sporadic clashes.

Claiming to have captured nearly a square kilometer ahead of their forward defences, the Defence Ministry said, ''Several confrontations took place at Parappakandal and Pallaikkuli areas in Mannar while the troops are on subsequent consolidating operations in recently liberated areas.'' Meanwhile, Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka visited the Wanni Security Forces headquarters yesterday with several senior officers to assess the situation, with the government officially pulling out of the Norwegian brokered February 2002 ceasefire agreement.

Evaluating latest developments in the area, Lt Gen Fonseka also discussed matters of concern to the soldiers and measures that should be adopted in fighting the enemy while keeping safety of the local population in mind.

Claiming that they were ''shocked and disappointed'' with Colombo's decision to pull out of the truce deal, the LTTE yesterday said they were ready to continue the discarded truce deal even at this 'late' stage.

Charging the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa of unilaterally withdrawing from the truce pact ''without any justifications'', the LTTE has written to Norwegian government urging it to continue its role as facilitator with the backing of the international community.


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