Sri Lanka military advance on Tiger capital, 50 dead

September 18, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military said Thursday it was moving closer to the northern headquarters of the Tamil Tigers, with fierce clashes leaving at least 50 dead. The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the island’s north and east since 1972.

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The main battle lines were around 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) west of Kilinochchi, with the latest fighting on Wednesday leaving at least 40 rebels and 10 soldiers dead, the defence ministry said.

The military said they captured areas around a big irrigation tank after the “fierce fighting.”

“Confident troops bravely resisted and directed hard blows on the enemy and chased them away,” the ministry said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) did not comment on the claims.