Troops capture LTTE's last airstrip in Mullaitivu
Sri Lankan troops captured the last airstrip of the Tamil Tigers at Sundarapuram in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, defence authorities in Colombo said.Updated: Feb 04, 2009, 04:14 IST
Sri Lankan troops on Tuesday captured the last airstrip of the Tamil Tigers at Sundarapuram in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, defence authorities in Colombo said.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said that troops of the 58 Division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva on Tuesday morning captured "the seventh and apparently the last some 2 km long LTTE runway in the west of Sundarapuram" lying northeast of Piramatharukulam in Puthukkidiyiruppu.
"Though the entire strip is about two km, the tarmac was only 350 meters in length and 50 meters in width according to the ground troops who launched a lightning attack before moving in there," the MCNS said.
It said that the tarmac had been partitioned into sixteen sections beginning from 1-16 "most probably to use it as a hangar after return on completion of clandestine aerial terrorist bombing operations".
The advancing troops have already captured six airstrips and tarmacs in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts that had been under the control of the rebels over the past one decade.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are believed to be in possession of an unknown number of Czech-built Zlin Z-143 light aircraft and in the past have carried out dozens of night air raids against military installations.
The fate of these aircraft is not known yet.
The Sri Lankan Army said last week that 95 percent of the war against the LTTE is over and the rebels are now confined to a 300 sq km area in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, facing their final battle.
There was no reaction from the rebel outfit, which has been fighting for the past quarter century to carve out a separate Tamil state.