After days of fierce fighting, the Sri Lanka Army infantry units have moved into Paranthan. Remaining LTTE resistance in the area was crushed in a pre dawn offensive spearheaded by commando units of the 2 commando regiment and special infantry (SI) formations of the 58 division. As of this moment, the entire Paranthan junction and the nearby area is under the complete control of the army.
Paranthan is perhaps the most strategically important area captured by the army during recent times. LTTE’s land based supply routes from their stronghold in Mullaithiv to Elephant pass, Kilali, Nagarkovil and Muhamalai have now been effectively cut off. This also opens another front for the army to advance on Kilinochchi – Paranthan is located around 4km north of the besiged town.
Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Air Force has been flying several aerial sorties per day to aid the advancing ground forces. Last evening, before SLA’s final push for Paranthan was made, SLAF jets and gunships devastated LTTE positions south and east of Paranthan junction in 4 different bombing raids. Last week however, an SLAF Mi-24 helicopter gunship suffered damage due to .50 caliber gunfire (aka five-zero) while providing close air support for advancing SLA troops in Mulliaweli, Mullaithiv. The gunship continued to destroy LTTE bunkers amidst cheers from SLA units on the ground. It completely destroyed part of the LTTE defence line before the pilot had to return to base due to damages caused to the rotor and hull. Although the gunship was hit by close to twenty 0.50 cal rounds, it’s in repairable condition.