Sri Lankan troops capture key Tamil Tiger town: ministry

September 2, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan forces have captured the key town and Tamil Tiger bastion of Mallavi in the north of the island following heavy fighting that killed 37 people, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

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Security forces marched into the town on Monday evening and on Tuesday morning were “hunting for remaining Tigers,” the ministry said.

“Domination of the well-known Mallavi town… marked one more decisive and impressive phase of the ‘war for peace’,” the ministry said, referring to its drive to take the Tiger political capital of Kilinochchi, further north.

The fall of Mallavi came as a total of 33 Tamil Tiger rebels and four government soldiers were killed in fighting across the north of the island, the ministry said.

It said 49 guerrillas and 11 soldiers were also wounded in the fighting on Monday.

The capture of Mallavi, where the Tigers had medical facilities, would be a psychological blow to the guerrillas as it is regarded the birth place of Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran’s wife, defence officials said.

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