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Army severs LTTE main sea supply route
... advances towards Pooneryn

The LTTE yesterday suffered another massive setback as the Task Force I led Brig. Shavendra de Silva marched on the Veditalaivu Sea Tiger base on the North-west coast, severing the outfit's main sea supply route via South India. The LTTE had been using this base to smuggle in military supplies with the help of its Tamil Nadu based confederates.

Yesterday's offensive that delivered the well fortified Sea Tiger base to the army had been preceded by a series of commando raids, the army said. The LTTE lost over 30 combatants and the army suffered no casualties.

The remaining LTTE combatants fled towards Iluppaikadawan amidst heavy fire. The army, which advanced one km ahead of Veditalaivu was positioned three kilo metres south of Illuppaikadawan at the time of writing.

The army is now moving towards Pooneryn along the coast to secure the vital A-32 road, an alternative road that leads to Jaffna.

The Air Force provided cover for the ground troops engaged in battle for Veditalaive base.

Mi 24 helicopter gunships were deployed to strafe the gun positions and mortar launchers of the LTTE. Fighter jets destroyed another LTTE base at Vallaipadu.

Mi 24 helicopters pursued a fleet of fleeing Tiger vessels four kilo metres off Vallaipadu in Mannar, destroying two of them and disabling several others. Many LTTE combatants are believed to have been killed in the air raids, the Air Force said.

The latest debacle on the North-West coast, the army says, will aggravate an already bad situation for the LTTE struggling to replenish its supplies. Military Spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the military was now in a position to thwart the LTTE's smuggling operations effectively from India and worsen its shortage of material.

Brig. Nanayakkara said it was from this base located near a small bay that the LTTE had launched a devastating attack on the vessel Irish Mona in 1995.

Operations on the Mannar front commenced last September.

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