Sri Lankan forces on Monday foiled an LTTE sea attack by destroying three boats and killed 20 rebels in intense fighting in the island's north, even as the army faced stiff resistance from the Tamil Tigers fighting to save their last stronghold of Pudhukudiyiruppu.
The Defence Ministry said LTTE rebels launched 15 boats, including 4 suicide craft, assisted with simultaneous heavy mortar fire at security forces directed from the declared 'no fire zone' in the region.
"LTTE rebels suffered another defeat at Mullaittivu, when 55 Div troops thwarted an rebel offensive attempt North of Puthumathalan by destroying 2 LTTE boats while damaging another in a separate incident," the defence ministry said.
"Heavy fighting was reported in the area between security forces and LTTE since last morning till evening," it said. At least 20 rebels were killed in the clashes, the Ministry said.
Intercepted LTTE communication confirmed heavy damages to LTTE, the ministry quoted security sources as saying and added that senior Tiger leaders, including Soosai and Lawrence, have commanded the attack.
The Ministry also said soldiers faced heavy resistance from the LTTE cadres who "seemed to have placed all their heavy artillery and mortar guns in the No Fire Zone (NFZ) demarcated for the civilians".