Facing stiff resistance from the LTTE guerrillas, the Sri Lankan army has launched concerted attacks on the rebel stronghold of Mullaittivu, which borders the rebel's political capital Kilinochchi, killing at least five Tamil Tigers, officials said on Tuesday.
Lankan troops trying to capture Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres north of Colombo, have opened several fronts to mount pressure on the guerrillas as it tries to take control of its main military bastion in Mullaittivu, defence sources said.
Troops attached to 59 Divisions carried out several attacks at the LTTE positions on the outskirts of Kilinochchi and in general area Kumulamunai in the region yesterday, the Defence Ministry said.
The military said LTTE fighters suffered heavy damages when troops of 591 Brigade confronted them, without giving details of the casualties suffered by the Lankan army.
The army and the LTTE have regularly made claims of inflicting heavy damages to each other. However, it is difficult to verify most of the claims as mediapersons are unable to get anywhere near the battlefield.
Reports of fighting have increased in recent months amid government's declaration to crush the LTTE by the end of the year. The LTTE recently admitted losing ground to government troops but their chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has pledged to fight on even as over 70,000 people have already been killed in the civil war in the Island nation.
Meanwhile, troops recovered five bodies of Tamil Tiger rebels along with T-56 weapons in search operations, the Defence ministry said. The army, engaged in mine clearing operations in the area, has unearthed 54 anti-personnel mines laid by the rebels, it said.