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* Sri Lankan troops capture Key LTTE town of Paranthan
Thursday, January 1, 2009, 4:48 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 01, Colombo: Sri Lankan troops advancing towards Kilinochchi captured the key LTTE garrison of Paranthan this morning following hours of intense fighting that killed over 50 rebels, the military said.

Defence authorities said the battle for Paranthan began two days ago between the troops of Task Force -1 and LTTE rebels when the TF-1 armor, artillery and infantry battalions launched a concerted assault on the rebels holed up in the strategic town.

Troops supported by the Air Force entered the Paranthan built-up yesterday morning and fought intense battles to neutralize the stiff rebel resistance.

Troops have also cutoff the vital access routes towards Paranthan along the A-9 road from North and South, the military said.

Troops are now consolidating defences and advancing further east of the Paranthan junction, security sources said.

Defence sources say capture of the rebel bastion would open up access routes to the remaining LTTE defences at Vaddakkachchi, and Puthukkudiyiruppu areas on the A-35 Paranthan- Mullaitivu road and isolating another LTTE stronghold of Elephant Pass located between the Jaffna peninsula and Kilinochchi.

Paranthan fell to the LTTE hands in 1998 and the fall of the town marks an end to the weakening rebel control in the area.

Sri Lankan Daily News and Reports

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