The Srilankan army today attacked a pre identified rebel gathering point in Thoppigala, using warplanes and long range artillery systems. Intercepted LTTE communication after the attack has revealed that a 'significant' number of rebels were wounded due to the attacks.
Initially, Sri Lankan air force fighter jets bombed the target with precision. The aircraft used in this attack were of type MiG27. It is the second consecutive day in which new MiGs were used for aerial bombings. Geographical position of Thoppigala area makes it harder for high altitude bombers such as Kfir's to make precision hits. This is the reason why MiGs are used to carry out bombing sorties over locations deep inside dense jungles of Thoppigala.
The aerial attacks were followed up by one of the heaviest artillery barrages in recent weeks. Rocket regiments's primary weapon, the MBRLs (Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher) were used to direct a devastating rocket attack towards the LTTE target. An MBRL can fire a total of 40 rockets within a very short period of time with high accuracy. The army owns more than (50) 120MM and 127MM Czech/Pakistani built MBRLs. Military intelligence suspects that the rebels in Thoppigala area have access to (2) Russian built Katyusha type multiple rocket launchers. These can only fire a total of 6/12 rockets per round and the barrel size is 107MM.
After the attack, intercepted LTTE communications revealed that at least 31 cadres are seriously wounded. Out of the 31, 14 are said to be women LTTE fighters. Rebels were heard repeatedly pleading with eastern LTTE command for tractors and vans to transport casualties.
Military strategy to capture Thoppigala is clear. First soften LTTE up with long range fire and then deploy infantry resources. So far, this has worked well.