Since the army started converging on the district of Mullaitivu in January, it has found training facilities for suicide-bombers and other fighters and factories producing chemical bombs. At Dharmapuram, soldiers located underwater fuel-storage tanks with 67,500 litres of diesel. Inside thick jungle, hidden from aerial view, they hit upon boatyards and completed submarines. The defence ministry’s website later called the Tigers “the first terrorist organisation to develop underwater weapons”. Among the other boats were fast-attack craft and some built for naval suicide-missions.
Perhaps most interest has been drawn by several multi-storeyed, underground shelters that the army suspects were used by Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tigers' heavily protected (and diabetic) leader. At ground level, the bunkers look like ordinary houses. Below, they have bulletproof doors and impermeable concrete walls one-metre (three-foot) thick. They are furnished, often tiled and were air-conditioned with electricity from soundproof generators. A 50-foot-deep shelter at Mullaitivu was fitted with a lift to the surface. On a bedside table was a container with empty vials of insulin.
© The Economist Newspaper Limited 2009