Tigers advance on Meesalai

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 May 2000, 16:25 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers resumed their offensive in the Jaffna peninsula Wednesday and are advancing towards Meesalai on the A9 highway, the LTTE said in a statement from its London offices. The crew of a Sri Lankan Air Force helicopter gunship were killed when it was shot down, the Tigers said. Meanwhile the town of Chavacachcheri had come under "a continuous barrage of indiscriminate artillery shelling" from the Sri Lanka armed forces, the LTTE said. The Tigers took control of the town in an offensive last week.

Following is the full text of the press release:

"Soviet built MI24 helicopter gunship was shot down this evening at Manthuvil in the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula as fierce fighting broke out between the LTTE combat units and the Sri Lankan government troops. Two pilots and a gunner were killed in the incident.

"The fighting formations of the Tamil Tigers launched a new offensive thrust today and are advancing towards Meesalai, a small town situated along the A9 highway between Chavakachcheri and Kodigamam. Supported by artillery and mortar fire, the LTTE forces are engaged in heavy fighting with Sri Lankan troops who have taken positions at the outskirts of Chavakachcheri. According to reports received from the battlefront government troops have suffered heavy casualties. Intense fighting is still raging in the area.

"In the meantime the Sri Lankan armed forces have launched a continuous barrage of indiscriminate artillery shelling on civilian areas in the Chavakachcheri town and its suburbs causing casualties among the civilian population. Israeli made Kfir combat aircrafts have also attacked civilian targets in the town."


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