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DateLine Saturday, 3 January 2009

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National flag flutters in Kilinochchi after 10 years

The national flag fluttered in the air of Kilinochchi yesterday, the de-facto capital of the LTTE, after the Security Forces liberated this highly prestigious town which was under the Tiger grip for the last 10 years after entering the town yesterday morning.

Major General Jagath Dias, General Officer Commanding of the 57 Division of the Sri Lanka Army, who led the troops to liberate this town, hoisted the national flag in the heart of Kilinochchi around 6 p.m, hours after President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an address to the Nation, saluted the valiant Security Forces for liberating this town.

Soldiers cheered as the national flag fluttered in the air along with their regimental flags which were hoisted in the centre of the city, celebrating their victory, as armoured vehicles drove through the streets of Kilinochchi town where many buildings were destroyed by fleeing Tiger cadres.

With this huge victory achieved by the 57 Division commanded by Major General Jagath Dias with the assistance of Task Force I under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva who reached the town from the Paranthan direction, troops took control over the strategically important A-9 road from Omanthai to South of Elephant Pass.

Sounds of canon fire were also heard closer to Kilinochchi last evening as troops continued to fight with the LTTE to further push them to the East of Kilinochchi.

“This is a victory of the country and the entire Nation. The troops achieved this victory with the correct leadership given by the President, Defence Secretary and the Army Commander,” Major General Jagath Dias told the media after hoisting the national flag.

The flags of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Air Force and the 57 Division were also hoisted along with the national flag symbolizing the main contributors to this historic victory.

“We faced numerous challenges in our journey to reach this victory but our valiant soldiers overcame all of them to make this victory a reality,” Major General Jagath Dias added.

“It is because of the sacrifices and the dedication of our troops we could make this victory a reality,” he added.

“It is after 10 years we have recaptured this town and we are now in a position to advance towards Jaffna in the North and Mullaitivu in the East with the liberation of Kilinochchi,” General Dias added.

The one time Tiger stronghold which was the centre of attraction of the international community is now a shattered town as many buildings have been blasted by the LTTE as they fled from the town when they were surprisingly taken by the Security Forces.

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