Sri Lanka: Collapse in the East

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January23, 2007: The army now controls 95 percent of east Sri Lanka, which used to be largely under LTTE rule. The LTTE faction, the Karuna group, is assisting the army in hunting down remaining LTTE fighters. More moderate Tamil groups in the east have met to form a new coalition, to oppose the LTTE at a national level.

January 22, 2007: In the east, several smaller LTTE bases were taken, and the LTTE suffered over a hundred casualties in the process. In the north, an LTTE boat came up against a cargo ship and exploded. The cargo ship, carrying food for people trapped in the government held city of Trincomalee, was damaged, and was towed away to where it could be repaired.

January 21, 2007: In the north, where the hard core LTTE hold sway, the fighting has been limited to artillery fire and ambushes.

January 20, 2007: Soldiers are screening the thousands of civilian refugees from the fighting, because LTTE fighters have been caught trying to hide among the crowds. Several LTTE leaders have been captured because of the screening.

January 19, 2007: Noting that the LTTE communications were heavily dependent on cell phones, the government had the phone companies temporarily cut off cell phone service in eastern Sri Lanka. This affected half a million customers, and left only the rickety landline phones working. Nationwide, about 75 percent of the nations six million phone customers use cell phones.

The army captured the town of Vakarai LTTE in the east. This was long a major LTTE base. Fighting around the town caused at least 10,000 civilians to flee. Nearly 400 LTTE fighters were killed during the final defense of the town.

January 18, 2007: In eastern Sri Lanka, the LTTE has virtually taken over a major hospital, both to treat their many wounded, but also to get some relief from air force bombing attacks. The fighting, especially in the east, is causing several hundred casualties a day now.

January 17, 2007: The air force is getting more target information from LTTE territory in the east, and is hitting more targets, and more important ones (like ammo supplies and artillery positions.)

 

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