3RD LEAD (UPDATE: 15 killed)
Three pronged SLA offensive thwarted - LTTE
[TamilNet, Monday, 31 July 2006, 07:05 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) began moving ground troops through three fronts from two SLA bases towards Mavil Aaru sluice gate Monday morning, supported by Multi - Barrel Rocket Launchers, artillery fire and aerial bombardment from Kfir and MIG jets towards Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled area in Mavil Aaru. The SLA advance was thwarted by the Tigers, according to Ilanthirayan, the military spokesman of the Tigers. Three LTTE cadres were killed and two wounded, Mr. Ilanthirayan said. Meanwhile, informed defence sources in Colombo said 12 SLA troopers including two SLA officials were kiled and many wounded. The SLA initiated operation has threatened the Ceasefire Agreement.
LTTE defence was being carried out under the supervision of LTTE's Trincomalee District Special Commander Col. Sornam, Mr. Ilanthirayan said.
SLA troopers launched a troop movement from Thirumangalam SLA camp towards Ankodai in LTTE controlled area, but the move was defeated at Valkottu by the Tigers, amidst indiscrimate bombing by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfir jets and MIG bombers.
"They [the SLA] could not move far, even a kilometer from Thirumangalam camp," Ilanthirayan said confirming intensive clash between ground troops from the both sides.
In the meantime, another move, made from Kallaru SLA camp eastwards in the direction of Eachilampattu, was also defeated, he said.
A third "surprise" move through a jungle area was also defeated by the Tigers.
"The defence forces of the Tigers under the supervision of Col. Sornam offered heavy resistance," Ilanthirayan said.
Meanwhile, Colombo military sources said in Monday's fight 12 SLA soldiers were killed.
Many wounded soldiers were first admitted to the Serunuwara government hospital and later transferred to the Polonnaruwa hospital.
Schools in the Serunuwara division were closed and shops were shut down as tension prevails in the area, police sources said.
Keheliya Rambukwella, the Sri Lankan Minister and Defence Ministry spokesman in Colombo said that SLA troops were advancing towards Mavil Aaru.
"The movement of troops is reportedly slow due to mines and attack of the LTTE," Mr. Rambukwella told media Monday.