MUHAMALAI: LTTE Radio Transmissions have confirmed that 71 Tigers perished in the confrontation between the Army and the LTTE at the Army FDL north and south of the A9 route at Muhamalai, Commander Security Forces Jaffna Major General G.A. Chandrasiri said.
Addressing a media briefing at the Security Forces Headquarters in Palali yesterday, the Commander said the troops launched a fresh offensive killing around 200 LTTE cadres.
It is also estimated that 400 to 500 terrorists were injured in the offensive launched by the Forces. He said that 11 Canter vehicles loaded with the bodies of LTTE terrorists were seen speeding continuously towards Mullaitivu and Killinochchi. `We launched Kfir attacks on these vehicles too.`
Air Force fighter jets attacked and destroyed two LTTE Artillery and mortar positions 10 to 12km ahead of the Muhamalai FDL. Three Command and Control Centres were also destroyed in the Air strikes.
The T1 Base, the LTTE`s Reinforcement Base has been destroyed as well. It is reported that over 60 LTTE terrorists were trapped in the T1 Base.
Meanwhile, Airforce MI 24 fighter helicopters carried out air raids on several LTTE terrorist bunkers located on the LTTE`s second FDL in Muhamalai. It was also successful in targeting key LTTE gathering points.
He said that the troops were able to capture the Muhamalai LTTE terrorist`s First Defence Line in Jaffna yesterday after 24 hours of fierce fighting in Muhamalai and Kilali.
Security Forces of the 53 and 55 Divisions launched a fresh offensive capturing about 400 to 500 meters of LTTE controlled territory in Muhamalai. Troops mounted heavy resistance thwarting a pre-dawn LTTE offensive.
He said the LTTE launched a continues attack for the last two weeks on the Muhamalai FDL and the Army successfully beat back the Tiger foray.
With the launching of the retaliatory attacks, the LTTE has suffered a heavy defeat. `We got information that between 800 to 1000 LTTE cadres have gathered at the second FDL in Muhamalai preparing for a massive attack. They tried to break through the FDL in Muhamalai by attacking the troops.
`Therefore, we decided to meet the challenge head on by launching a strong counterattack.
The Security Forces captured 500 meters ahead of the Muhamalai FDL on Wednesday by obstructing the LTTE`s attempts to return to their FDLs. We had to face the LTTE`s heavy artillery and mortar attacks on the capturing of the 500 m.`
The Security Forces were able to capture and consolidate the position at the terrorists` first defence line within two hours by launching a heavy attacks.
`We further consolidated the area by strengthening the position while mounting retaliatory attacks at the offensive LTTE formations until 12 midnight yesterday.` The Armed Corp and the Mechanism Infantries also moved forward strategically to consolidate the location.
He said 43 soldiers made their supreme sacrifice in fierce fighting for 12 hours. In the meantime, the brave solders while trying to capture the second defence line had to face the LTTE terrorists` mortar and artillery attacks. He said 33 soldiers were missing following this confrontation.
It has been reported that 169 soldiers were injured and those in serious condition have been airlifted to Colombo. Eighty soldiers out of 169 suffered minor injuries.
Commander 55 Division of SLA, Brigadier Kamal Gunarathna said that the 55 division launched an attack to defeat LTTE in the North of the A9 route at Muhamalai. `We have launched heavy attacks against terrorists and the LTTE suffered a heavy defeat.
Troops were able to capture the Muhamalai LTTE first defence line after a massive fight for two hours by the 55 division in collaboration with the 53 division.`
The LTTE had laid booby traps and landmines to obstruct the solders` way. `By facing these attacks, We have been able to consolidate the power in no-man area as well.`
Commander of 53 Division of the SLA, Brigadier Samantha Suriyabandara said that the 53 division launched an attack to defeat the terrorists in the South of the A9 route at Muhamalai.
We got intelligence information as a gathering of nearly 800-1000 LTTE cadres in the FDL. We strategically made plans to push back the LTTE from their initial position breaking the Tiger FDL. According to the plans, We have been able to consolidate power by launching the attacks on LTTE gathering points.