Sri Lanka claims fall of Tiger base amid new peace bid

July 11, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military said Wednesday it had captured the “nerve centre” and last Tamil Tiger jungle stronghold in the east of the island, following months of intense fighting.

The claim coincided with a fresh effort by peace broker Norway, who sent a top envoy to the rebel-held northern town of Kilinochchi in a bid to pull the warring parties out of a worsening cycle of violence.

The pro-rebel Puthinam.com website said ambassador Hans Brattskar, who is to leave Sri Lanka shortly after being Oslo’s top envoy in Colombo and a key figure in the peace process, had called for negotiations to resume.

The report made no reference to the reaction of the Tigers — who have so far said they will not resume talks unless government forces halt their military campaign.

Fighting across Sri Lanka has worsened since the breakdown of a 2002 truce around 19 months ago.

On Wednesday, the defence ministry said its troops had captured the Thoppigala jungle base used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) following intense air and ground attacks. It gave no details of casualties.

“With this victory, the troops have captured the nerve centre of the LTTE terroris