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Sea Tigers' deputy chief killed in SL

By T V Sriram in Colombo
May 10, 2009 21:41 IST
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In a fresh blow to beleaguered Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Sea Tigers' deputy chief Cheliyan was killed by the Sri Lankan forces, which moved deeper into the fast-shrinking rebel territory in the embattled north.

Cheliyan, the second-in-command of the Sea Tigers, was killed in Kariyamullivaikkal on Friday in clashes with Sri Lankan, the Media Centre for National Security said on Sunday.

The death of the senior LTTE leader was confirmed by intercepts of the Tamil Tigers' communications, the army said. Meanwhile, few soldiers suffered minor injuries in a blast which took place during operations in the Akkarayankulam in Mullaittivu on Saturday, the ministry said.

The search operations in the area lead to the discovery of an LTTE training centre and a huge cache of military hardware. The troops further advanced into the no-fire zone, capturing LTTE positions in Karaiyamullivaikal on Saturday, the ministry said.

According to sources, prolonged fighting took place in the area as Tamil Tigers launched stiff resistance on advancing troops.

Troops, however, breached the enemy defence line, inflicting heavy damages on them, the defence ministry said. The LTTE rebels had laid land mines heavily in the area to obstruct the security forces' advances, sources said.

Intercepting LTTE communication channels, Electronic Warfare sources confirmed that several LTTE militants were killed during the fighting, the ministry said.

In subsequent clearing operation in the area, troops found the bodies of two LTTE rebels. Meanwhile, Lankan forces continued their offensive march to rescue the civilians held hostage by the LTTE.

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T V Sriram in Colombo