In the sea battle off Point Pedro in north Sri Lanka on Thursday, the LTTE captured four Sri Lankan sailors and an Israeli made Dvora gunboat with all its weapons, the rebel group’s military spokesman Rasaiah Ilanthirayan said.
“We boarded one of the Dvoras, captured four of the sailors, and removed all the weapons including a 23 mm cannon, five PK machine guns, an automatic grenade launcher and a Point 50 heavy machine gun which can be used against low flying aircraft,” Ilanthirayan told Hindustan Times over phone from Kilinochchi.
The LTTE destroyed two Dvoras and damaged one, he said.
The battle left 25 Sri Lankan navy men dead and the LTTE lost five cadres in the bid to board a Dvora.
Ilanthirayan said that the fight began when the Sri Lankan Navy intruded into the “Tamil Homeland’s” territorial waters and interfered with the Sea Tigers while they were carrying out routine exercises.
“We cannot tolerate any intrusion into our territorial waters. We do not mind sacrificing any number of lives to safeguard our sovereignty,” he declared.
On supply of food from India
Asked if the fighting in the Point Pedro-Kankesanthurai sea would not prevent the supply of food from India to Jaffna, Ilanthirayan said that by seeking food from India, the Sri Lankan government was trying to divert attention from the issue of re-opening the A9 main supply route at Muhamalai.
“We have enough grain in the Wanni to meet at least 50% of the needs of the people of Jaffna. But we are not able to bring the supplies because the A9 is closed at Muhamalai,” he said.
Opening the A9 would obviate the need to get supplies from abroad, he stressed.