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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Retreating Tigers to Vakarai blow up Panichchankerni bridge to escape the advancing security forces

 Map showing Panichankerni Bridge Map showing Panichankerni BridgeBy Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 07 October, ( Retreating Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerilla troops after taking a heavy beating from the Sri Lanka security forces have blasted off the Panichchankerni Bridge that would block any advance of the enemy on land to Vakarei area they occupy.

The blowing up of the bridge would also block thousands of civilians from moving themselves to the Sri Lanka Government administered areas from the LTTE administered areas, military sources said.

Sri Lanka Army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said the army has witnessed about 25 dead bodies of the Tamil Tigers in front of the Forward Defense Line after the LTTE fighters took a heavy beating from a combined attack of the Sri Lanka Army , Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force, in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

Prasad Samarasinghe said the Air Force used MI 24 helicopters in this attack. He said the security forces were only engaged in a defensive action against the LTTE as the security forces were being attacked by the LTTE.

While the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam accused the army of being assisted by paramilitary forces, the military spokesman of the LTTE Rasiah Ilantheriyan did not name them as it had earlier refused the existence of Karuna forces in the area.

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said two soldiers also died in the clash.

Center for national Security said, “Tiger terrorists directed artillery shells and mortar bombs at the Security Forces forward defences in Mankerni in the early hours today (06). But intense retaliation by troops which caused heavy losses to their cadres forced them to flee the area. Civil and intelligence sources confirmed that there were over twenty-two tiger dead bodies lying in the area.

Military officials say that the tigers would have blasted the bridge to block troops entering Panichchankerni.

“Panichchankerni and Vakarai areas were used by the Tigers to mount artillery and mortar attacks on Security Forces defenses in Mankerni.”

While the ground troops were fighting the Navy also fought against the LTTE sea power at Vakarai. Naval fast attack craft and fast gun boats which detected five Sea Tiger boats off Kadirweli heading towards Mankerni around 10.30 a.m. yesterday (06) confronted them and destroyed two sea tiger craft along with the crew while severely damaging the three remaining craft, the army said.

Reports further said Tigers fired heavy caliber weapons from the shore at the Navy craft.

According to intelligence sources the flotilla of sea tiger boats were transporting reinforcements towards Mankerni to support exhausted tiger cadres who were fleeing the area unable to face the heavy retaliation by the Sri Lanka troops.

- Asian Tribune -

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