Sri Lanka claims capture of Tamil Tiger jungle base

July 11, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops captured on Wednesday the jungle “nerve centre” of Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the east of the island after months of fighting, the defence ministry said. He said the objective of the security forces was not limited to capturing Thoppigala, but was to take full control over the multi-ethnic eastern province by neutralising the LTTE. The military took Thoppigala jungle base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) around dawn, the ministry said in a statement.

“Commandos and soldiers of the Sri Lanka army have reached Thoppigala a few hours ago,” the statement said.

“With this victory, the troops have captured the nerve centre of the LTTE terrorists in their last stronghold in the eastern province.”

There was no immediate comment from the Tigers.

The ministry’s claim came a day after it said Tiger rebels were offering stiff resistance and had slowed an advance on Thoppigala.

“We have captured about 98 percent of the territory, but the balance of two percent won’t be in a matter of days,” Government spokesman Rambukwella said Tuesday, dismissing reports that troops were about to take Thoppigala.

“It may even take two yea