Lankan troops capture Elephant Pass from LTTE

In a major success,Sri Lankan troops on Friday seized the strategic Elephant Pass,the gateway to the Jaffna peninsula,dislodging the Tamil Tigers...

Written by T V Sriram | Columbo | Published: January 10, 2009 12:48 am

In a major success,Sri Lankan troops on Friday seized the strategic Elephant Pass,the gateway to the Jaffna peninsula,dislodging the Tamil Tigers from their key bastion a week after capturing the rebels’ de facto capital Kilinochchi.

Announcing the capture of Elephant Pass in a nationally televised address,President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the security forces have registered “another historic victory”. He said the Tigers have been “completely dislodged” from the Elephant Pass and the security forces established their authority there.

In a statement,the Defence Ministry also said that Elephant Pass “is now under the total control of security forces.” The capture of the Pass frees the entire Jaffna-Kandy A9 road from the LTTE.

“The capture of the (Elephant Pass) frees the main north-south A-9 road from the Tigers for the first time in 23 years,” Rajapaksa said.

Meanwhile,India and the United States on Friday condemned the killing of the Chief Editor of a Sri Lankan newspaper here and asked the government of the island nation to probe the matter thoroughly.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the demise of the well-regarded Editor of Leader group of Publications of Sri Lanka,Lasantha Wickramatunga,” an Indian High Commission release said here.

A statement issued on Thursday by the US embassy here said the “murder of Lasantha Wicrematunga is a shocking blow to independent media in Sri Lanka”.

“The US strongly condemns the murder today of the Sunday Leader Editor… and the January 5 attack on Sirasa TV. These deplorable acts mark the latest in a series of attempts to quell independent voices in Sri Lanka,” the US embassy here said.

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