Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers from the 57th division moved ahead of their defense lines in Mannar to capture a much fought after rebel defense line north west of Giant tank in a pre dawn offensive today. Army's infantry formations backed by the commando regiment and Sri Lanka artillery, were able to overrun the LTTE bunker line today morning amidst heavy resistance.
SLA troopers have so far found 8 bodies of LTTE cadres scattered near the defense line. Interception of enemy communication revealed that at least 20 rebels have been killed in today's fighting.The Army too suffered casualties in the operation with 35 soldiers being injured and 3 soldiers KIA. Most of the SLA injuries were caused by deathtraps, IEDs and land mines which had been set up in the area by the tigers.
The army operation has been temporarily halted due to stiff resistance offered by the tigers. This has been the story of most SLA operations in the Mannar-Vavuniya region for the recent past. However, this strategy has helped SLA minimize the casualty figures. In contrast to the all out attacks involving massive numbers of troops (I.e. - Operation Jayasikuru, Operation Leap Forward - Idiri Pimma, Operation Agni Kheela) SLA have been waging a drawn out war with the aim of tiring out and frustrating the enemy.
Meanwhile fighting raged in the northern defense lines yesterday when a group of LTTE cadres tried to infiltrate Muhamalai forward defense lines. 55th division soldiers stationed in FDL positions near Muahamalai lead a devastating counterattack across the no-man's-land, ultimately destroying four LTTE bunkers along with at least 10 LTTE cadres.
The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), after suffering a setback at the hands of Black Tigers, carried out consecutive bombing runs on LTTE targets yesterday and today. A sea tiger base and a tiger intelligence camp were among the targets that were hit. Effectiveness of these attacks cannot be confirmed as of yet.