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Mop up operations in progress in Pooneryn salient; Air Force comes to troops assistance

Mop up operations in progress in Pooneryn salient; Air Force comes to troops assistance

Task Force 1 troops having liberated Poonaryn are now engaged in mop-up operations in the Poonaryn salient, Defence sources in the filed reveal. Troops are now clearing their way towards Kalmunai Point (K-Point) along the 20 Km long narrow land stretch where the LTTE terrorists used to stationed their artillery and mortar batteries.

Meanwhile , Sri Lanka Air Force has lunched a series of air strikes in support of ground troops in the Muhamalai area. Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara told defence.lk that MI-24 helicopters and fighter jets have engaged LTTE artillery and mortar positions in the area since 6.30 to 9.45 this morning (Nov 15).

Army Chief , Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka describing the victory to state media said that the whole stretch of A-32 road from Mannar to Poonaryn has been liberated after 20 years. He said that troops of Task Force 1 and 57 Division have cutoff the Poonaryn- Paranthan road (B-69) yesterday and marched for about 8 Km down the road to Pooneryn junction .

"Then we advanced further and captured Sangupiddy ferry that connects the road to Thanankiluppu in Jaffna", now the army has dominated the whole west coast", he said.

Speaking further, he said that it is the  first time after 20 years that the Army has opened a land route to Jaffna.

"We have eliminated large number of terrorists during this battle, remaining terrorists are now running for their lives across the Kilali lagoon", he said.

In addition, he said that troops of 57 Division and Task Force 1 have already started marching eastward towards A-9 road.

"At present, our forces have positioned themselves about 10 Km west of Paranthan on the A-9 road", he said.

Poonaryn remains a hallmark of the undying courage of Sri Lanka Army soldiers as they withstood frenetic attack by the terrorists at the isolated camp in 1993. Army handed over their positions in the area to IPKF in 1987 and regained them in 1992 in Operations Valampuri 1 and 2. On 11 November 1993 , LTTE made an attempt to capture the Poonaryn camp but failed before the courage of Army soldiers. The incident was excessively misinterpreted as a great debacle by media with exaggerated army death and casualty figures.  According to records, 824 LTTE terrorists were killed in the military counter attacks. In mid 1996 , the camp was vacated  by the Army as a tactical measure .

Poonaryn - Now

Army soldiers celebrating their historic victory at Pooneryn (Nov 15)




Poonaryn in following LTTE attack in 1993


Following the terrorists' abortive attempt  to overrun the  Army camp at Poonaryn in 1993 , then Army chief visited the soldiers who had successully defended the camp

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