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Sri Lankan Military Captures Mannar Rice Bowl - Militants' Supply Cut

Sri Lanka said Monday the army cut a main supply route for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, militants, when they captured Mannar's rice producing area. The Defense Ministry in a statement said that soldiers captured about 120 square kilometers area and took control over the entire Mannar "rice bowl."

It was reported that soldiers seized 12 kilometers of the main A-32 road in the Mannar district, which is one of the main LTTE supply routes. The rebel outfit, however, has not commented on the matter.

The ministry has also said that there has been an influx of civilians from the Tiger-held areas into government-controlled areas. The military has also claimed that about 24 LTTE cadres were killed in the latest offensive.

The rebels lost the eastern region to the army a year ago and the military has continued its offensive to dislodge the Tamil Tigers from its stronghold in the north.

The LTTE has been fighting against the government since the mid-1980s to establish an independent homeland for the island's minority Tamils, which has led to the death of more than 70,000 people.

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