Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Russian aid convoy drives into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Gunmen kill scores in Iraqi Sunni mosque attack

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Army seizes Tamil Tiger chief's main bunker

Video by Aurore Cloé DUPUIS

Latest update : 2009-02-03

An underground bunker believed to have been the home of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has been seized by Sri Lankan troops, the defence ministry said on Tuesday. The troops also seized the LTTE's last jungle airstrip.

AFP - The Sri Lankan army said Tuesday it had captured an elaborate underground bunker complex believed to have been the home of the leader of the Tamil Tigers as well as the rebels' last jungle airstrip.
  


Soldiers seized the facilities amid a fresh escalation of fighting in the northeast, where government troops are pressing on with an all-out assault on the remaining patch of jungle held by the ethnic guerrillas.
  
The renewed fighting came as the government said the battle against the cornered Tigers was at a "decisive stage" and that it could not guarantee the security of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in rebel-held territory.
  
The captured two-storey-deep bunker had sound-proof electricity generators, air conditioning and medical supplies and was hidden in a coconut grove in Mullaittivu district, the defence ministry said.

 


  
It described the site as the "main LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) hideout" and "a major residential site" of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
  
Pictures released by the defence ministry purported to show that Prabhakaran had left behind a stuffed Tiger, a paintball gun and a bottle of cognac.

 


  
At least 20 guerrillas were killed trying to defend the facility and another 12 rebels died in other clashes on Monday, the ministry said.
  
The whereabouts of Prabhakaran, 54, are not known, but Sri Lanka's military has said the Tiger chief may have already fled the island by boat.
  
Also captured was what is believed to be the last of several jungle airstrips used by the Tamil Tigers to launch air strikes across the island, the defence ministry said.
  
The two-kilometre (1.25-mile) long runway and hangar for light aircraft was seized by troops advancing on the village of Thirivilaru in Mullaittivu district. No aircraft were found, but search operations were underway, a military official added.
  
The Tigers are believed to have five Czech-built Zlin-143 aircraft, smuggled onto the island in pieces and re-assembled. The guerrillas last launched an air attack early in September 2008, when they bombed a military base.
  
Sri Lanka's government pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered truce a year ago, and a subsequent offensive has seen the LTTE's territory shrink from about 18,000 square kilometres (7,000 square miles) to an area of less than 300 square kilometres.
  
The government says the rebels are using at least 120,000 civilians as a human shield. The United Nations says a quarter of a million people are trapped by the fighting.

 

Date created : 2009-02-03

COMMENT(S)