LTTE mortars inflict heavy damage

[TamilNet, Monday, 16 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
More than hundred and nine SLA soldiers, including officers, have been wounded since the latest phase of Operation Jayasikurui began on Saturday March 14. In the three days of intense fighting more than 22 soldiers have been killed said SLA sources in Vavuniya today. Twenty eight soldiers were wounded last evening and 10 today.

The unusually large number of wounded soldiers has mainly been due to heavy mortar barrages by the Liberation Tigers.

"They are raining mortar fire on us" said a soldier who was flown to Anuradhapura yesterday from the area of SLA operations south west of Mankulam.

There was a lull in fighting this afternoon though reports from Vavuniya said that SLAF helicopters were still flying sorties into the theatre of operations.

The military said that they have inched their way ahead in some areas and are now engaged in consolidating their positions there, especially east of Mankulam and ahead of Mannakulam.

SLA sources said that the death toll is very low this time as the Jayasikurui troops had advanced in preparation to counter the LTTE's swift interception assaults aimed at throwing into disarray the forward columns led by the Special Forces commandos of army.

The SLA lost a large number of Special Forces commandos at Mannakulam in December 97 and at Olumadu last month when the Liberation Tigers trapped them in well laid out interception attacks.

Army sources in Vavuniya said that according to military intelligence intercepts of LTTE's communications, eighteen Tigers have been reported killed in this fighting. The Voice of Tigers, however, said only four Tigers died in the fighting.


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