Sri Lanka troops reach outskirts of Tiger base: military

November 21, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan security forces on Friday reached the outskirts of the Tamil Tiger political capital in the island’s north after months of heavy fighting, the defence ministry here said. Troops fought pitched battles with the Tamil Tigers and seized control of more rebel defences on the north-western edge of Kilinochchi, the de facto capital of the Tiger guerrillas, the ministry said on Friday.

“Task Force One troops today reached the northern boundaries of Kilinochchi …and started pounding the LTTE strongholds in the Adampan area (western defences of Kilinochchi),” the ministry said in a statement.

Two columns of troops are also said to be heading towards Kilinochchi from the north and the south. They are 30 to 40 kilometres (18 to 25 miles) away while the third column is said to be nine kilometres away.

Two months ago, the military had claimed it was just 2.5 kilometres from Kilinochchi, but later revised their positions saying monsoon rains and stiff rebel resistance had slowed advancing troops.

The air force Friday used Mi-24 helicopter gunships to attack Tiger defences around the political capital.

The defence ministry has stopped releasing details