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We're inching near LTTE HQ: SL

world Updated: Dec 03, 2008 10:49 IST

AFP
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Sri Lanka's defence ministry on Wednesday reported renewed heavy fighting in the north of the island as its troops maintained their advance on the Tamil Tigers' political capital.

The ministry had said last week that the fall of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (206 miles) north of Colombo, was imminent, but government troops have since been slowed down by monsoon rains and flooding.

It said the advance on the town, the political capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), had now resumed.

"The Army's 57th Division and Task Force 1 soldiers who lined up along the western and southern boundaries of the Kilinochchi town yesterday (Tuesday) started pushing their forward boundaries further in to the town area," it said.

The ministry did not give full details of casualties from the latest fighting, but said troops destroyed a rebel bunker line on Tuesday while troops killed three rebels in two locations.

The LTTE has admitted losing ground to government troops, but their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has vowed to fight on.

The guerrillas, who began their struggle for a separate Tamil homeland in 1972, are facing the Sri Lankan army's biggest ever offensive.