Colombo, Nov 24: Sri Lankan army's attempt to broaden the offensive arc on the Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi received a setback when a push to capture the major town of Nalloor was beaten back by LTTE cadres, who claimed to have killed 43 soldiers.
After their success in capturing the land route to Jaffna peninsula, the government troops have now opened a two-pronged attack to capture Kilinochchi by launching offensives from both the north and the south. Pro-rebel website Tamilnet claimed that Tigers late last night have beaten back attack by the troops on Nalloor town, which straddles the highway to Kilinochchi from the north. Tamilnet said the LTTE fighters have recovered 8 bodies of SLA soldiers and seized weapons after the fighting.
"At least 43 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and more than 70 wounded in latest fighting that broke out at Nalloor on Poonakari - Paranthan road last night," Tamilnet said.
This was corroborated by a defence ministry statement which said, "There have been casualties on our side. As many as 8 soldiers are missing".
The stiff fighting by the Tigers pushed back the Sri Lankan troops in the Poonakari direction, the LTTE claimed.
The Sri Lankan military effort to open a two-pronged attack on Kilinochchi comes after reports that its major offensive drive from the south had got bogged down due to stiff Tiger resistance.
The push from the north came amid heavy rain in the area, which have led to floods in Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu districts.