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Friday, May 15, 2009 - 09.30 GMT
Humanitarian mission forges ahead
Troops rescue over 3700 civilians : more coming


In its continuing humanitarian operation in the North of Sri Lanka, Army troops rescued more than 3700 civilians held hostage by the LTTE as at last evening, May 14.

This rescue mission is proceeding with several thousand more civilians expected to be freed from LTTE control and their movement to safety in the Government Controlled Area of the Vanni being facilitated.

This major rescue operation of civilian hostages comes in the wake of many concerns being expressed by sections of the international community as well as the UN regarding the safety of these civilians held as human shields by the LTTE.

Last morning, troops of 58 Division started maneuvering southwards along the coast on the Eastern border of the newly declared Civilian Safety Zone, and were able to eliminate LTTE strongholds up to the Farah III shipwreck, located on the Karyalaimullivaikkal coast.

The shipwreck was the main coastal stronghold of the terrorists, on which their heavy machine guns were placed. Troops encountered stiff resistance from the terrorist manning the shipwreck when they approached the open beachhead last morning. Infantrymen of 11th Sri Lanka light infantry and 12 Gajaba Regiment upon reaching the location have attacked and destroyed the dinghy boats in which the terrorists had attempted to escape.

Meanwhile, a huge explosion has been reported in the Civilian Safety Zone where the LTTE leaders are currently hiding in. According to the reports, the explosion was heard around 6.30 pm after which they observed thick black smoke rising above 200m from the ground. Following the explosion, all radio communications among the LTTE units have come to a standstill, the reports said.

Reports from 59 Division said that 4 civilians were killed and 14 others suffer serious injuries when the terrorists opened fire at them as they sought refuge among the soldiers.

Sri Lanka Air force has airlifted 12 of the injured to the government hospital Anuradhapura.





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Last modified: May 16, 2009.

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