Two fighting formations of the Sri Lanka army's 57th division have surrounded the Madhu church premises after a renewed round of fighting in the area. Troops leading the advance from Pandrivichchan have already secured two smaller churches in the area.
Meanwhile the holy statue of Virgin Mary has been moved from the Church premises to Thewayampiddi (currently under LTTE control) in the Wanni after fighting erupted near Madhu church premises. According to Bishop Rayappu Joseph, the statue was moved to LTTE controlled territory to prevent it from being damaged by LTTE's own artillery fire.
The Liberation Tigers have been continuously shelling SLA positions in the region which are now situated 1KM-1.5KM from the church premises. According to military intelligence LTTE has deployed its heavy artillery guns in close proximity of Madhu shrine on a number of previous occasions, exploiting the cover of the no-war-zone. According to three LTTE cadres who surrendered to the armed forces on the 3rd, LTTE has deployed fighters from its Radha regiment, Malathi regiment (comprises entirely of women fighters) and its elite Charles Anthony regiment in the Madu sector.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Mi-24 helicopter gunships attacked an LTTE mortar launch pad in Andankulam region today afternoon. Details of any damages caused by this air raid are not yet available.