Sri Lankan Troops Capture Rebel Capital

Tamil Tigers flee into jungle as government makes final push to crush separatists
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 4:59 AM CST
A separatist Tamil Tiger cadre fires a heavy machine gun during a battle in a Tigers stronghold village north of Kilinochchi.   (AP Photo/Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, HO)
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(Newser) – Sri Lankan government troops have captured the Tamil Tiger capital of Kilinochchi after months of heavy fighting, Reuters reports. Soldiers are mopping up the last of the rebel resistance and many have fled into the jungle, say officials. The capture of Kilonochchi is a devastating blow to the Tigers, leaving them with only one remaining stronghold.

Sri Lankan forces have been pushing deep into separatist territory for months in an effort to finally end the 25-year civil war. They managed to battle their way into the rebel capital for the first time in a decade after hundreds of deaths on both sides. Tiger leaders have vowed to keep fighting through guerrilla warfare even if every inch of rebel-held territory is recaptured.