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Jan 03, 2009 at 10:47pm IST

SL army wrests Elephant Pass from LTTE hold

New Delhi: A day after the Sri Lankan army captured the LTTE's headquarters in Kilinochi the army now claims to have taken the Elephant Pass north of Kilinochi.

The Elephant Pass is known as the Gateway to Jaffna. It is a thin strip of land with sea on either side.

The pass was taken by the LTTE in April 2000 after a fierce and bloody battle with the Sri Lankan army. When CNN-IBN travelled to the Elephant Pass in 2006, reporters had seen the remains of a battle like the one raging now.

A burnt Sri Lankan tank stood at the pass - it had been left untouched by the LTTE as a symbol of the tremendous victory, a rallying point for the Tigers to motivate it's cadres.

Eight years later the historic Elephant Pass has now been secured by the government forces. The army is clearing up the area a day after it took the LTTE headquarters in Kilinochi. This means that the arterial A-9 highway, which connects Colombo in the south to Jaffna in the north, is now completely under army control for the first time in a decade.

And the LTTE is now fleeing into their strongest bastion - Mullathivu and the adjoining jungles in the north.

The LTTE's only support seems to be from politicians in Tamil Nadu who have long used the Sri Lankan conflict for political gains in India.

MDMK General Secretary, Vaiko says, "This victory is only a temporary victory for the Sri Lankan army. They can't have a permanent victory. The Tamil Tigers will bounce back just like the waves in a sea do. At least in this time of need, the Tamils world over should remain together. I just want to assure the Eelam Tamils that even in this time of war and crisis, we won't give up on them. The Indian Government must at least now realise that it has betrayed them. "

In the island though, the Sri Lankan army hopes to eliminate the LTTE and then answer the Tamil question. Sri Lanka is aware that a military victory cannot end an intense and decades-old ethnic conflict.

Lankan military helicopters are now bombing LTTE positions. LTTE chief Prabhakaran is said to be hiding in the thick forests near the port town.

Meanwhile in Colombo, a bomb went off in Pettah Market. The blast allegedly executed by the LTTE, left at least three civilians injured. This is the second blast in Colombo after the fall of Kilinochchi on Friday.