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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tamil Tiger 'strong point taken'

Tamil tigers
The Tamil Tigers are on the defensive in the north

The Sri Lankan army says it has captured a town from Tamil Tiger rebels during their current military offensive in the northern region.

They said the rebel "strong point" of Palavi was taken by troops after a day-long battle.

But the army did not provide casualty figures in the clashes.

The military and the rebels are engaged in fierce battles in many fronts in the north. The Tigers are reported to be offering stiff resistance.

"Our troops have also entered the Kumulamunai village area on the north-eastern coast," Sri Lankan army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the BBC.

Land route to Jaffna

The reported capture of Palavi came a day after the army said it had also taken control of the village of Kiranchi which until recently used to be a Tamil Tiger naval base.

Palavi map

Troops are also advancing towards the strategically important town of Pooneryn in the same region. Officials say the fall of the town would enable the government to open a land route to Jaffna along the western coast.

The main road linking Jaffna peninsula to the rest of the country is currently blocked supplies go by sea and air.

In recent months the rebels have been driven from many towns and villages along the coast in the north-west.

Sri Lankan security forces also claim that they are close to the rebels' administrative headquarters in the northern town of Kilinochchi.

The rebels have not commented on the military's latest account of events and the government blocks independent journalists from going to the areas where the fighting is taking place.

At least one senior government figure has talked of defeating the rebels militarily within two to three years.

The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland for a quarter of a century and about 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.

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