Sri Lanka say troops poised to take Tiger HQ

December 8, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan government troops were Monday poised to finally capture the political headquarters of the rebel Tamil Tigers after months of fierce fighting, officials said.

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Security forces were said to be within “kissing distance” of Kilinochchi, one of the two main towns in the north of the island still in the hands of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The government of President Mahinda Rajapakse has been predicting an imminent fall of Kilinochchi for several months, but government sources said the country’s ruling People’s Alliance was now gambling on a swift victory.

The officials said Rajapakse was preparing to call snap local elections in at least two councils in the northwestern and central parts of the island — to test public support for the war.

“The North-Western and Central Provincial Councils could be dissolved in a matter of days and elections called within about five weeks,” a senior government minister said, declining to be named.

The national parliament is also to vote Monday on an annual budget for