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Lankan jets pound retreating LTTE

Sri Lankan fighter jets pounded LTTE targets as ground forces pressed ahead to capture the last Tamil Tiger bastion of Mullaittivu from the retreating rebels, which suffered at least 26 casualties.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2009 18:31 IST

Sri Lankan fighter jets pounded LTTE targets as ground forces pressed ahead to capture the last Tamil Tiger bastion of Mullaittivu from the retreating rebels, which suffered at least 26 casualties, officials said on Monday.

Lankan MI-24 helicopter gunships and fighter jets made precision air assaults at two identified Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) gathering points located in general area Iranamadu, in support of the advancing TF-3 and 57 Division troops this morning, the military said. Kilinochchi town, 330-km from the capital, was overrun by troops earlier this month and the rebels are now confined to the jungle and lagoon district around Mullaittivu on Sri Lanka's northeast coast.

According to Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, MI-24 helicopter gunbships launched air assaults at an LTTE gathering point located 1 km Southeast of the Iranamadu tank at around 8.15 am.

A separate air strike was launched by Lankan jets at an LTTE gathering point located 2 km North of the Iranamadu Tank near Kilinochchi this morning, the air force said. The army has won a string of major victories over the guerrillas in recent weeks, capturing their political capital and taking hold of LTTE's main base on the Jaffna peninsula. The military said they were ready to inflict a "decisive blow" to the guerrillas after the capture of the strategic Elephant Pass causeway linking the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the mainland.

The 57 Div troops engaged in clearing operations at Kilinochchi have uncovered 4 anti-personnel (AP) mines on Sunday, security source said. Troops also destroyed an LTTE bunker overhead constructed in general area Iranamadu.