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Lankan army disputes rebel casualty

world Updated: Dec 11, 2008 23:27 IST
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The Sri Lankan army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Thursday claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on each other in the ongoing battle in north Lanka.

The SLA troops and LTTE cadres are currently fighting a pitched battle against each other on the outskirts of Kilinochchi, the rebels’ administrative hub. While the army has been claiming that they are on the verge on wresting the LTTE stronghold, the Tigers, while admitting that the fighting has been intense, have claimed to have repeatedly repulsed advances made by SLA.

On Thursday, the SLA said at least 27 LTTE cadres were killed during fighting along the western and southern borders of Kilinochchi. The defence ministry, quoting SLA sources, added that 20 soldiers were also killed in the last 48 hours.

“Troops of 57 Division on multi-pronged offensive towards LTTE’s main administrative base, Kilinochchi built-up, have reached to a significant milestone gaining control over the strategically vital Terumurikandy junction on Wednesday,’’ the ministry said.

The LTTE painted a markedly different picture. Pro-LTTE website, TamilNet, said that more than 60 SLA soldiers were killed and 12 SLA bodies recovered by the LTTE defensive units west of Kilinochchi on Wednesday.

Heavy shelling was reported in Kilinochchi town and its suburbs in the last 24 hours. Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fighter bombers were also engaged in bombing forward defence localities of the Tigers.