22,000 Tigers, over 5,000 soldiers died in SL war: Army Chief
Sri Lankan troops have killed 22,000 Tamil Tigers and lost nearly 5,400 of its men during the nearly three-year-long military offensive to wipe out the LTTE, Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka said on Thursday.
"We have destroyed the LTTE leadership's first, second and third rungs. The LTTE is over," the army chief said at a ceremony here to honour his field commanders.
Gen Fonseka said the army lost 190 officers and 5,200 men during the latest fighting while 27,000 soldiers were also injured.
Troops have also killed 22,000 Tamil Tiger fighters and captured 9,000 rebels during the same period, he added.
Army formations trooped along the parade ground amidst beating of drums and music by the military band as Gen Fonseka took the salute before addressing the gathering at the army headquarters. He inspected a guard of honour by 1,300 men and presented silver scrolls to each of his 10 field commanders.
Sri Lankan troops claimed total victory over the LTTE earlier this month after eliminating rebel supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran and other top leaders of the rebel outfit and capturing all the territory held by them.