B. Muralidhar Reddy
Military resorts to aerial bombing
LTTE attack bid thwarted: ArmyTigers repulsed Army offensive: TamilNet
COLOMBO: Heavy fighting broke out between the Sri Lanka military and the LTTE in the east on Thursday near the Vaharai region and the military resorted to aerial bombing of `targeted' Tamil Tigers' positions.
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) said an attempt by the LTTE to attack its defences at Kirimichchi and Kadjuwatte in the morning hours was foiled with `heavy damage' to the Tigers. "The retaliatory attacks by the Security Forces lasted a few hours in the morning forcing the Tigers to withdraw to their earlier locations."
It said that on Wednesday the LTTE moved heavy guns and troops forward to launch this offensive. "The Security Forces sought the assistance of the Air Force to engage their gun and mortar positions in addition to the use of all other resources available there. The Tigers have been planning an offensive in the area to coincide their activities and to commemorate the `maaveer week' ending on November 27," the military said.
TamilNet claimed that heavy fighting broke out on the southern border of the Vaharai region in Batticaloa district on Thursday as SLA troopers from Kadjuwatte and Mankerni camps launched a ground offensive with heavy mortar, artillery and Multi-Barrel Rocket fire.
It quoted the LTTE military spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan as saying that the Tigers repulsed the offensive. On November 8, 47 civilians, most of them internally displaced women and children from Trincomallee, were killed and more than 100 civilians were wounded in the cross-fire.
The SLA has been blocking humanitarian convoys into the region, citing alleged artillery and mortar fire on the Mankerni entry point. The Tigers have accused Colombo of not allowing the independent ceasefire monitors, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, to be present in the Vaharai region. TamilNet said Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers intensified aerial bombardment on LTTE-controlled areas for the third day on Thursday. "On Wednesday, Kfir bombers attacked Vidathalthivu coastal area in LTTE-controlled area of Mannar district between 8.30 and 9 a.m. Some civilian boats were damaged," it quoted unnamed LTTE officials as saying. The LTTE alleged that despite announcement by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and plea by the Co-Chairs no relief material had reached the people in Vaharai.