Soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army yesterday overran a key LTTE bunker line at Palleikuli amidst heavy resistance by the tigers. Part of the LTTE forward defense line north of Mannar along with 7 fortified bunkers are now under the complete control of the army. According to military intelligence, six LTTE cadres have perished in battle and another 10 more have been wounded. 1 SLA soldier is reported to be killed and another 6 soldiers have been wounded.
During the past week, the army was able to advance few hundred meters (in one occasion 800 meters) into LTTE controlled territory through several locations along the Wanni FDL (Forward Defense Line). More than 40 LTTE cadres are reported to be killed in a number of sporadic clashes that occurred when small attack groups of the army assaulted LTTE frontline positions. 11 SLA soldiers too have been killed and 20 more have been wounded in these incidents.
Several strategically important locations are among the newly captured areas. Task Force 01 (58th division) commanded by Brigadier Shamindra Silva wrested control of Uliyankulam entry point few days ago while the 57th division took complete control of the village of Thampanai in Vavuniya after weeks of fighting. Two of LTTE's operations centers in the frontline (Vietnam base and Five-Four base) were overrun in these battles.
The army is exploiting a known weakness in the LTTE outfit in Wanni battle. LTTE's limited manpower keeps them from fighting simultaneously in multiple fronts. The army on the other hand is doing the exact opposite. They have already opened two fronts In Mannar and Vavuniya and have strategically placed the 59th division in Weli-Oya. This deployment somewhat confirmed LTTE's fears of an army advance into Mullaithiv through Weli-Oya sector. Due to the shortage of manpower, LTTE's sea tiger wing members too have been ordered to man positions in the frontline bunkers.
The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) stepped up airstrikes on LTTE positions in Mullaithiv and Mannar during the past few days. LTTE targets in Alampil and Viduthalaithiv were attacked and it is now confirmed that two of LTTE's regional leaders perished in one such attack.
Meanwhile a SLA 2nd Lieutenant wounded in Slave Island claymore explosion succumbed to his injuries today morning. The death toll of the mine blast has now risen to 6. Out of the 6 killed, 2 are school children. 27 were wounded in the incident including 16 civilians.