Sri Lankan government says it has captured key rebel naval base

Sri Lankan soldiers captured a key naval base used by the Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern part of the country Wednesday, a day after forces killed 51 rebels in attacks across the same region, the military said. A Defense Ministry statement said government troops overran the rebel-held town of Vidattaltivu in the north Wednesday morning. The coastal town is the location of an important base used by the Sea Tiger naval force. However, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said that while soldiers had entered the base, fighting was still continuing as of Wednesday afternoon. Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be immediately reached for comment. Fighting in the 25-year civil war has escalated in recent months after the government vowed to destroy the rebel group by the end of the year.