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Troops enter final phase in Thoppigala

THOPPIGALA: Troops engaged in the humanitarian mission to liberate the last bastion of the LTTE in the East have entered the final phase of the battle in Thoppigala by engaging in clearing operations in the jungle terrain bordering Narakamulla and Tharavikulam Tiger bases, Military sources said yesterday.

"Troops are engaged in search operations along difficult jungle terrain in Narakamulla and Tharavikulam in the Thoppigala jungles," the Media Centre for National Security said yesterday. According to field Commanders in the Thoppigala battle front Commando Troops supported by the 6, 7 and 8 Gemunu Watch advanced towards Tiger strongholds in Narakamulla and Tharavikulam removing boobytraps and anti- personnel mines set by the fleeing Tiger cadres.

"During search operations in the last three days, troops recovered 472 anti-personnel mines, 12 pressure mines, 12 pressure mines and five anti-tank bombs in camps abandoned by the terrorists," a MCNS spokesman said.

Troops have also taken control of the Pankudaweli- Narakamulla road and the Sittandi-Periyamadu road. According to Field Commanders, Tiger cadres are now in total disarray and facing a severe shortage of food as their supply routes have been cut off by the troops engaged in the battle.

Many of the Tiger cadres trapped in the Thoppigala jungle are fleeing the Thoppigala jungles abandoning their camps disregarding the orders of the leaders seeking safe haven in the Wanni but face their death at the hand of the Security Forces on constant vigilance.However, Tiger cadres have been encouraged to surrender to the Security Forces advancing towards the Tiger strongholds.

According to the MCNS, Security Forces during the operation have found 19 motorcycles, six double cabs, four vans, nine canters, 15 trailers, seven tractors, 40 hand grenades, 472 anti personnel mines, two bowsers, one scrapers, 15,000 T-56 ammunition.

"The troops engaged in the battle are poised to take control of more square kilometres of terrain within the next few days," a field commander in the Thoppigala battle front told the Daily News.

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