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Sri Lanka: Rebel command center seized

  • Story Highlights
  • Sri Lanka news agency says government jets bombarded rebel transit camp
  • Defense ministry says rebels killing civilians
  • Reported capture is latest in a series of claimed government successes
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(CNN) -- The Sri Lankan government said Thursday it has made more inroads into the remaining territory held by ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels after troops seized their command center in the north of the country.

Sri Lankan workers bury the bodies of some 38 suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed in recent fighting.

Sri Lankan workers bury the bodies of some 38 suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed in recent fighting.

The defense ministry's announcement, also reported by the country's Lankapuvath national news agency, could not be independently verified.

Military jets pounded the rebel's "transit camp" in the district of Mullaittivu Wednesday evening, the agency said.

The defense ministry said rebels were firing at and killing civilians who were trying to flee the fighting.

"In the face of humiliating defeat, LTTE terrorists are tailoring a civilian tragedy," it said on its Web site.

The LTTE, or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, are commonly known as the Tamil Tigers. They have fought for an independent homeland for the country's Tamil minority since 1983 in a civil war has left more than 65,000 people dead.

In recent days, the military has made significant progress in its campaign to recapture rebel strongholds.

Earlier this month, troops regained control of the northern town of Elephant Pass, the point at which mainland Sri Lanka links to the northern Jaffna peninsula. It had been in rebel hands for more than nine years.

The re-capture enabled the government to use a highway linking the mainland to the peninsula to move troops and supplies. Previously, it was done by air and sea.

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