February 24, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan government troops were Tuesday advancing on the last urban area in the north of the island still in the hands of Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said soldiers were “on the fringes of Puthukkudirirppu,” a small town on a narrow strip of land in the northeast controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
“Battlefield reports indicate intense fighting going on in the area as troops closing in on Puthukkudirirppu,” the defence ministry also said, adding 13 bodies of rebel fighters were recovered along with their weapons on Tuesday.
There was no immediate comment from the LTTE.
The government withdrew from a Norwegian-brokered truce at the start of last year.
Subsequent fighting has seen the LTTE lose control over nearly all of the north, including their one-time political capital of Kilinochchi and main military base of Mullaittivu.