: Government forces drove deeper into the Tamil Tigers’ dwindling stronghold, confining the rebel group that once controlled a vast swath of northern Sri Lanka to an area smaller than Manhattan, the military said Friday.The government has said it is on the verge of destroying the rebel group and ending this Indian Ocean island nation’s quarter-century civil war.Army troops entered Puthukkudiyiruppu, the last town under rebel control, on Tuesday and the two sides continued to wage fierce house-to-house battles, the military said. If the town falls, the rebels will be confined to a small coastal strip, some villages and a patch of jungle.The recent military gains have left the group in control of only 22 square miles (58 square kilometers) of land, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. That is slightly smaller than the New York City borough.Aid groups estimate 200,000 ethnic Tamil civilians are trapped in that area along with the rebels and have expressed increasing concerns about their safety. Human Rights Watch reported last week that an estimated 2,000 civilians have been killed in the recent fighting.The rebels once controlled a de facto state across a wide swath of the north measuring about 5,600 square miles (15,000 square kilometers). A recent government offensive drove the rebels into a broad retreat and left them on the brink of defeat.Verification of the fighting is not available because journalists are barred from the war zone.