Heavy fighting erupted between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ahead of forward defense lines in Kilali and Mannar, yesterday(24th) and today(25th).
Fighting in Kilali was triggered when the LTTE attempted to infiltrate SLA controlled territory in a pre dawn offensive. SLA soldiers deployed in the forward defense lines detected the LTTE advance while it was crossing the no-man’s-land and were able to stage a surprise counterattack. LTTE cadres, knowing that they were at a disadvantage, tried to return to their bunker line. However they received casualties while fleeing and at least 8 of their bunkers in FDL caught fire due to small arms fire from SLA soldiers and from artillery fire directed at their FDL from artillery bases in the region. Dead bodies of two LTTE cadres have been recovered by the army and another 10-15 bodies could be observed scattered in the no-man’s-land ahead of FDLs. Two SLA personnel were killed and 30 others were wounded in the incident. Most SLA casualties were due to LTTE artillery fire.
However army has stepped up small scale group based attacks on LTTE bunkers on FDLs. Soldeirs from 55th division (mostly from VIR- Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment) have had success in such attacks.The sole objective of these operations is to destroy as much LTTE assests as possible.LTTE has been pushed into a defensive stance in these areas. This is mainly due to small scale attacks on their bunker lines. Some of the operations were successful and some were not.
Worst damage SLA suffered from such a group based operation in these areas in recent times was when 55-2 soldiers stormed into one of LTTE main bunker lines. SLA were able to destroy 5 bunkers causing the cadres in them to pull back to second defence line and some got killed. However then the LTTE directed 152mm artillery at the just vacated bunkers causing injuries to 15 soldeirs who had overrun them.