The Sri Lankan army (SLA) on Thursday claimed to have tightened the noose around the LTTE leadership after capturing the last earth embankment inside the no fire zone (NFZ) in the north eastern district of Mullaitivu.
Lankan troops captured the earth bund after fierce fighting with the LTTE. ``Amid stiff LTTE resistance the valiant troops hit the LTTE earth bund and dominated it today. Scores of dead bodies of the terrorists were found scattered ahead of the captured bund along with their weapons,’’ the media centre for national security said.
Agencies reported, quoting unidentified military sources that the LTTE had deployed many suicide bombers along the front to take on the advancing SLA troops.
The troops also came across a concrete tunnel, built over ground. ``This compartmentalised tunnel was found by the 58 Division troops in the coast South of Vellamullivaikal. According to ground troops, the tunnel 360ft long and 25ft width was under construction and believed planned to be used as an alternative gateway to the shallow waters avoiding any detection.
Troops also found a 100ft long, 50ft wide dock used by LTTE,’’ the defence ministry said.
It is being speculated that the tunnel, which led to the sea, could have been used as an escape route for LTTE chief V Prabhakaran.
In another development, at least 3,000 pregnant women have fled the fighting in northern Sri Lanka in recent days and some 350 will give birth in the next month, according to estimates by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. UNFPA is stepping up its support for the health and safety of women and girls affected by the conflict.
The International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) has shipped 25 Metric Tones of food and medicine to the conflict zone on Thursday. This is the first consignment to reach the area after April 28. An ICRC spokesperson said that the shipment was being offloaded from the vessel Friday afternoon.
The LTTE political head B. Nadesan, meanwhile, has reiterated full commitment and support to the ICRC in its humanitarian and mandated activities. Nadesan accused that it was the Sri Lanka government and its forces that were blocking the activities of the ICRC by launching military maneouvers.