Colombo: The LTTE Friday suffered a severe blow when its de-facto capital Kilinochchi fell to the Sri Lankan Army, the second major military setback in a decade for the Tamil Tigers.
Government forces captured the Tigers’ political capital in northern Sri Lanka, a few years after the rebels lost crucial Jaffna, the administrative and political headquarters, in their quarter-century old campaign for separate Tamil Eelam in the island nation.
Shortly after President Mahinda Rajapakse claimed “unparallelled” victory for the entire nation, a man believed to be the suicide bomber of the LTTE, detonated explosives outside the Air Force headquarters here killing two people.
There was no reaction from the LTTE over the government claim of the capture of Kilinochchi, strategically not considered a big target but has a symbolic value as de-facto centre of Tigers in the Wanni jungles near the headquarters of Sea Tigers.
There was also no word on the whereabouts of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, whose morale may take a beating over today’s loss.
Across Colombo there were celebrations by people who lit fire crackers and danced with Sri Lankan flags as news of the military victory spread.
The army also hoisted its flag in various installations in Kilinochchi marking its victory after 10 years when LTTE had reclaimed from the Army.