Sri Lanka on Wednesday claimed to have captured LTTE-held territory in north-western Mannar following fierce clashes that left 19 rebels dead and 30 wounded.
"One sq km in LTTE controlled areas was captured by army troops yesterday in the north of Parappakandal in Mannar amidst heavy damage to the militants," a defence ministry official said.
Troops forced into LTTE positions ahead of Parappakandal defences killing at least 19 militants including a woman LTTE leader and wounding over 30 others, the defence ministry said.
According to intelligence intercepts, an LTTE woman area leader Sudarmalar and 18 rebels were killed during the confrontation.
Several LTTE bunkers were destroyed while troops overran LTTE positions ahead of Parappakandal, Mannar. The advancing troops were assisted with heavy artillery and multi barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) fire directed at LTTE positions, security sources said.
Over 30 LTTE cadres were wounded in the ground advance, forcing the rebels to flee, the ministry said. Troops repulsed an LTTE offensive attempt towards the established defences at Parappakandal and were now consolidating.
However, the pro-LTTE website Tamilnet claimed that a Sri Lankan army bid to capture territory was thwarted yesterday at Mullikulam in Mannaar after three hours of stiff resistance.
Quoting the "LTTE command of Mannar", it said four soldiers were killed while the LTTE suffered no casualties.
The SLA pulled back after sustaining heavy casualties, the LTTE claimed.