Sri Lankan troops advance on Tigers’ military HQ

January 3, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops advanced Saturday on the military headquarters of the Tamil Tigers, a day after capturing the rebels’ de facto political capital in the north of the island. The defence ministry said forces were moving towards Mullaitivu, the jungle district along the northeastern seaboard, where the Tigers are known to have their main military facilities.

“The battle for Mullaitivu has already begun,” the ministry said in a statement.

On Friday, after months of intense fighting, the military finally captured Kilinochchi, where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had gathered all the political trappings of a mini-state.

Military officials said the fall of Kilinochchi had cleared the way for security forces to re-establish control over a vital highway linking the northern Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the country.

Jaffna, which has a population of nearly half a million people and a considerable military presence, used to be supplied by air and sea because the Tigers controlled the land route.

The defence ministry said the military was also moving to dislodge rebels dug in at the entrance to the peninsula.

President Mahinda