rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has been killed. However, there is
no official confirmation of his death.Prabhakaran's death would spell
the end of a more than three-decade quest by the rebel leader for a
separate state for minority Tamils across northern and eastern Sri
Rupavahini television, the state broadcaster, broke into its regular
programming on Monday afternoon to announce Prabakharan's death. They
gave no details of how he was killed.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Army Chief Lt Gen Sareth Fonseka has said that
troops have defeated the last pockets of rebel resistance in the north
and are working to identify Prabhakaran's body from among the dead.
The government information department also sent a text message to cell
phones across the country announcing Prabhakaran was killed along with
his top deputies.
High alert has been sounded in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo after
Sri Lanka military has also announced that it has now controlled all
of country's territory.
Earlier, Sri Lankan military officials had informed that Prabhakaran
was killed by government forces this morning.
Two officials had confirmed Prabhakaran's death. The officials spoke
on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to
Prabhakaran and two of his top commanders, know as Soosai and Pottu
Amman, drove in an armour-plated van accompanied by a bus filled with
armed rebels toward approaching Sri Lankan forces Monday morning, the
officials said. A two-hour firefight broke out before the military
launched a rocket at the van, the officials said.
Troops pulled Prabhakaran's body from the van and identified it as
that of the rebel leader, they said.
"It was confirmed Prabhakaran was killed when trying to flee in an
ambulance before dawn. We are waiting for the official announcement by
the President," a military source said on condition of anonymity.
Earlier in the day, four senior rebel leaders were killed in fighting.
They included the head of the Tigers' political wing, Balasingham
Nadesan, the head of rebels' peace secretariat Seevaratnam Puleedevan,
and a military leader known as Ramesh.
The Army also says it has found the body of Prabhakaran's son, Charles Anthony.
Sri Lanka's hawkish President, Mahinda Rajapakse, will open a new
session of Parliament on Tuesday with an address that will officially
mark the ending of the war.
The conflict has left more than 70,000 dead from pitched battles,
suicide attacks, bomb strikes and assassinations. The LTTE emerged in
the 1970s, with all-out war breaking out in the early 1980s.