Heavily armed soldiers of the Sri lankan army advanced 2km into rebel held territory west of Mannar after breaching the LTTE forward defence lines at several locations today. 20 rebels were killed and an unknown number were injured during the offensive and the army has taken complete control over several strategic points previously held by the tigers. 4 army personnel were killed and 19 were wounded due to shrapnel damage from LTTE's retaliatory mortar fire. Army advance should not be misinterpreted as a large scale offensive as it is merely a pre emptive strike conducted to neutralize rebel guns stationed in populated areas and to prevent civilian casualties in the case of an emergency situation.
Intelligence sources have indicated that the LTTE is planning a massive attack on army positions in Vavuniya/Mannar border to regain the pride which was lost in recent Vakarai defeat. Confirming intelligence reports, LTTE deployed several heavy mortars in close proximity of populated villages in then rebel held area and fired at the army FDL using these weapons last week. It would have been catastrophic had the army retaliated these attacks using MBRL batteries as many civilian casualties were sure to be inflicted due to the manner in which the tigers deployed their heavy weapons. Instead of using long range fire the army has started a limited ground offensive to drive the LTTE away from the populated areas.