Vakarai captured - SLA
[TamilNet, Monday, 22 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Sri Lankan troops have successfully launched an operation, code named "Inthira Sara", in the eastern province today and had taken control of the coastal town of Vakarai, 60 km. north of Batticaloa, from the Liberation Tigers, said ex-militant sources in Europe, quoting Sri Lankan defence ministry officials.
According to the MoD, thirty-three tigers were killed and over 100 were wounded in the operation, which was completed around 2.45 p.m., they said.
The troops had destroyed a large LTTE camp and several other small camps in the operation which involved the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and the Air Force, they added.
One SLA soldier was said to have been killed and four others were wounded in the operation they said.
The troops had also destroyed a landing point of the Tigers, which the officials had said would severely hamper the LTTE's sea-borne transport between the northern and the eastern provinces.
The defence officials had also said that, after initially offering resistance, the Tigers had later withdrawn, having destroyed Vakarai hospital and other public buildings.
Meanwhile residents of the eastern town of Batticaloa said that they could hear sounds of explosions since this morning around 6.30.
A large number of villagers from the Vakarai area are reported to have fled through Naaseevantheevu, seeking refuge in areas near Valaichenai.
The LTTE has not commented on the SLA operation in the east.
The Sri Lankan government has imposed strict censorship on the reporting of military action. This, combined with the ban on correspondents entering the war zone has made it impossible to independently verify events taking place there.