In a major military success, Sri Lankan security forces on Tuesday captured a key area of the rebel-held territory in the island's north as a series of clashes in the restive region left at least 59 Tamil Tigers and two soldiers dead.
The army captured the Viyattankulam area in Mannar after killing 22 rebels and destroying 16 bunkers, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said in a statement.
In a separate incident, nine Tigers were gunned down in Welioya in Jaffna by the troops on Monday, the Defence Ministry said.
Another rebel was killed and a bunker destroyed when the troops attacked a group of LTTE cadres in Janakpura in Welioya on Monday, it said, adding that troops gunned down one more guerrilla in a similar incident later in the day.
Separately, a rebel was killed and three injured in the same area last evening, the MCNS said.
At Kiribbanwewa in Welioya, security forces killed one LTTE cadre in a clash yesterday, the army said, adding later in the day four more rebels were gunned down in an encounter in the same area.
In another confrontation, security forces destroyed some LTTE bunkers and killed four Tiger rebels at Kilali in Jaffna yesterday, the MCNS said.
At Muhamale in Jaffna, one soldier was killed when he got caught in a booby trap bomb, the army said, adding three soldiers were also injured in the incident.