At least 50 LTTE cadre were killed when they clashed with the Sri Lankan military on and off the north-eastern coast of Mullaitivu in the past 24 hours.
In another development, the military claimed that LTTE fired on civilians escaping from the no fire zone (NFZ), killing nine and injuring at least 19. The incident occurred near Alampil. The Sri Lankan Air Force airlifted the injured to a government hospital in Anuradhapura.
The battle between the army and the rebels seemed to be heading towards a denouement with the land under LTTE’s control reducing to just 6 square km. According to army sources, the remaining LTTE cadre, including leader V. Prabhakaran, could have long been overrun but for the displaced Tamil civilians surrounding them.
Estimates say between 20,000 and 50,000 civilians continue to be trapped inside the NFZ. The army inched towards gaining total control after repulsing a Sea Tiger suicide attack on a Sri Lankan Navy patrol early on Saturday. The attack — launched off the NFZ coast — was repulsed and two rebel boats were destroyed.
3 UK journalists held
Sri Lanka police arrested three journalists for London-based Channel-4 television news on charges of tarnishing the image of the government security forces.