Battle of Jaffna (1995)

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Battle of Jaffna (1995)
Part of the Sri Lankan civil war
DateOctober 17 - December 5, 1995
Location Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Result Sri Lankan Army victory
Coat of arms of Sri Lanka.svg Military of Sri Lanka Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Commanders and leaders
Major General (later General) Rohan Daluwatte,
Brigadier (later Major General) Janaka Perera
10,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
500 killed (According to Sri Lankan Government claims) [1] 2,000 killed (According to Sri Lankan Government claims) [1]

The Battle of Jaffna was a battle fought from October to December 1995 for the city of Jaffna. [2]

Jaffna City in Sri Lanka

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna District located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138 in 2012, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th most populous city. Jaffna is approximately six miles from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna Kingdom.



The city of Jaffna had been for years a major stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Tigers viewed the city as the capital of their new independent state. The city was briefly recaptured by the Indian army in 1987 during Operation Poomalai but the city was later captured again by the Tigers.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Militant organization in Sri Lanka

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was a Tamil militant organization that was based in northeastern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a secessionist nationalist insurgency to create an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. This campaign led to the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009, when the LTTE was eventually defeated during the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Operation Poomalai, also known as Eagle Mission 4, was the codename assigned to a mission undertaken by the Indian Air Force to air-drop supplies over the besieged town of Jaffna in Sri Lanka on 4 June 1987 in support of Tamil Tigers during the Sri Lankan Civil War.

The newly-elected president of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga, ordered this offensive after peace talks with the LTTE broke down after the Tigers attacked and destroyed Sri Lankan Navy gunboats and fired anti-aircraft missiles at Sri Lankan Airforce AVRO aircraft over Jaffna. Control of the peninsula became vital to the control of Palali airbase.

Chandrika Kumaratunga 20th century President of Sri Lanka

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is a Sri Lankan politician who served as the fifth President of Sri Lanka, from 12 November 1994 to 19 November 2005. The country's only female president to date, she is the daughter of two former prime ministers and was the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) until the end of 2005. In 2015 she was appointed as the chairperson of office for national unity and reconciliation.

Eelam War III is the name given to the third phase of armed conflict between Sri Lankan military and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. After the period of 100 days cease-fire the hostilities broke out on 19 April 1995. The LTTE - Sea Tigers planted explosives in two gun boats known as SLNS 'Sooraya' and 'Ranasuru', and blew them up. Also, a new weapon "Stinger", a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile was used in this conflict by the LTTE. This was used to take down two Sri Lankan Air Force AVRO aircraft flying over the Jaffna peninsula. Eelam War III also marked the rising success of the LTTE, as they managed to capture key districts such as Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, and took over the Elephant Pass base. By the end of Eelam War III, the LTTE had control of nearly 30% of the entire island.

Jaffna Airport

Jaffna Airport, also known as Palaly Airport and SLAF Palaly, is an air force base and domestic airport in the town of Palaly in Jaffna District, Northern Province, Sri Lanka. Located approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) north of the city of Jaffna, the airport was originally built by the Royal Air Force during World War II and later served as the country's second international airport before being taken over by the Sri Lanka Air Force.

On October 17, 1995, 10,000 SLA soldiers attacked the city and in a 50-day siege that lasted until December 5, 1995, up to 500 soldiers and 2,000 rebels were killed. In the end the army managed to take the city and the peninsula from the Tigers, thus crippling the LTTE, however most of the LTTE forces managed to retreat into the jungle. [3]


Initially the Army stated that the battle for Jaffna ended the war and the LTTE would never again be able to fight major battles against the government. It was believed that the insurgency was at its end. However this was not the case, which was apparent when the LTTE attacked an army detachment in Batticaloa district December 23, killing 33 troops. Military sources reported that more than 60 rebels were killed. Over the next seven months the LTTE reorganised and regrouped and in July 1996, the rebels launched Operation Unceasing Waves, which was the codename for the attack on the military base at Mullaitivu. More than 1,200 soldiers were killed and the base was destroyed. [4]

Mullaitivu Town in Sri Lanka

Mullaitivu is the main town of Mullaitivu District, situated on the north-eastern coast of Northern Province, Sri Lanka. A largely fishing settlement, the town in the early twentieth century grew as an anchoring harbour of the small sailing vessels transporting goods between Colombo and Jaffna. The town has a District Secretary's office, many other government institutions and schools located in and around the area.

See also

The Battle of Jaffna was a battle fought in two phases in August and October 2006 for the Jaffna peninsula. It was the fourth battle for the peninsula since the start of the Sri Lankan civil war.

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The Sri Lankan Civil War was an armed conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.

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Operation Pawan was the code name assigned to the operation by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to take control of Jaffna from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tigers, in late 1987 to enforce the disarmament of the LTTE as a part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. In brutal fighting lasting about three weeks, the IPKF took control of the Jaffna Peninsula from the LTTE, something that the Sri Lankan Army had tried but failed to do. Supported by Indian Army tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy artillery, the IPKF routed the LTTE at the cost of 214 soldiers.

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  1. 1 2 Sri Lanka - DangerFinder Archived November 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "1995: Jaffna falls to Sri Lankan army". BBC News. December 5, 1995.
  3. "Sri Lankan army hails capture of Jaffna". CNN. December 5, 1995. Archived from the original on March 20, 2005.
  4. "Sri Lankan troops continue push into rebel territory". CNN News. April 21, 1996. Archived from the original on February 22, 2005.