2ND LEAD

SLA fired shells, rounds hit Madu Shrine premises - LTTE

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 April 2008, 15:24 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has launched sporadic offensive pushes from Pa'ndivirichchaan targeting Madu on Tuesday and Wednesday, LTTE's Operations Command in Mannaar told media in Vanni. Meanwhile, LTTE's Military Spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan told TamilNet that the SLA-fired artillery and mortar shells exploded inside the mess of the Madu shrines premises, in the vicinity of the well and on priests' quarters. All civilians, except the priests, have vacated the premises. LTTE has lost one fighter while facing the offensive initiated by the SLA, 1.5 km away from the Madu premises. The Tigers said 15 SLA soldiers were killed in two days in Pa'ndivirichchaan and 10 near Giant's Tank on Wednesday.

The clergy has complained that the SLA fired rounds were reaching the premises of the Madu shrine, Mr. Ilanthirayan said.

Military Spokesperson of the Tigers, Mr. Irasaiah Ilanthirayan (Marshall)
Responding to a question posed by TamilNet that Colombo was accusing the Tigers of using the Madu premises as mortar launchpad, Ilanthirayan, who categorically denied the charges said Colombo was engaged in "malicious propaganda".

"We have long-range mortars and there is no need for the LTTE place mortars near or inside the premises of the holy shrine premises," he said.

Confirming that the clergy had approached the LTTE as early as fighting broke out at Thampanai area, an year ago, with a request to declare the Madu region a non-military zone, the Tiger spokesman said that the LTTE was prepared to extend its full support to the request without opposing the idea. But, the GoSL did not honour the repeated requests from the Catholic community and continued to initiate armed attacks targeting the civilians near the premises of the Madu shrine, he said. He referred to artillery and Claymore attacks by the SLA Deep Penetration Unit in the vicinity of the premises of Our Lady of Madu.

During the last 24-hours, 15 SLA soldiers were killed in the confrontations as the SLA was attempting to advance from Pa'ndivirichchaan towards Madu. More than 50 SLA soldiers were wounded, the Tigers said. LTTE has seized an RPG and assault rifles from the SLA.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting was raging near Kaddukkarai from 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The fighting was continuing for more than 14 hours at 8:00 p.m. when media received latest report from the LTTE operations command in Mannaar. The SLA attempt was a major push from Ma'nalmoaddai in Kaddukkarai targeting Paalapperumaa'l kaddu, the Tigers said.

3 LTTE fighters were wounded in the fighting near Kaddukkarai, Ilanthirayan told TamilNet.


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