The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) seems to be gasping for breath. About 420 of its cadres have been killed in pitched fighting with the Sri Lankan army (SLA) since Thursday.
On Sunday, the rebels also lost control of the remaining patch of Puthukkuddirippu (PTK), its stronghold in the north-eastern district of Mullaitivu. The area of PTK had been a strategic base for the past two decades where the LTTE maintained military and naval bases and its armoury.
“The remaining 400-500 LTTE cadres are now hiding among 50,000-odd civilians in the designated ‘no fire zone’, a 20 sq km area between the north-eastern coast and a lagoon. (LTTE chief) Prabha-karan is also hanging around there,” army commander lieutenant general Sarath Fonseka told HT in an exclusive conversation.
He said 15 soldiers died and 100 were injured during the three-day operation.
“We recovered three bags full of documents that belonged to Prabhakaran,” said Fonseka.
The LTTE did not immediately react to the military’s claims.