17 August, 2008 - Published 12:14 GMT

BY Roland Buerk
BBC correspondent in Colombo

LTTE Jeevan base 'captured'

Sri Lanka's military says it has captured a Tamil Tiger training complex complete with a hundred underground bunkers.

The military said soldiers captured ‘Jeevan Base’ a rebel training complex in Weli-Oya on Saturday, after Tiger fighters fled the area.

The military's spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said it contained lecture halls and a hundred underground bunkers.

In fighting elsewhere across the north on Saturday the military says twenty-seven rebels and seven soldiers were killed.

Operations 'temporarily halted'

In recent weeks Sri Lankan troops have broken through the Tamil Tigers' defences in the north of the island and taken control of towns, villages and bases.

Repeated attempts to contact the Tigers by phone and email have gone unanswered in recent days.

Government officials have said they aim to defeat the rebels before the year is out and end the island's twenty five year civil war.

The military says it is now fifteen kilometres from Kilinochchi, the administrative hub of the dwindling territory the Tigers control.

The United Nations estimates up to seventy-five-thousand people have fled the fighting since the start of June and many have converged on the town.

Cabinet Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the forces were holding back in some areas while the Government considered how to get the civilians out.

He accused the Tigers of using them as a human shield.

Relatively few civilians have crossed into Government-controlled areas and last week Amnesty International alleged the Government was putting those who have into what they called "de facto detention centres".