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Is LTTE chief dead? Yes, says Lanka

Last updated on: May 17, 2009 17:32 IST

Is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief  Prabhakaran dead? If the Sri Lankan Army is to be believed, Prabhakaran's body was found. There are also reports that a huge explosion was heard outside where the LTTE chief was reportedly hiding.  

However, there is no official confirmation.

The LTTE on Sunday conceded defeat in the face of a major offensive by the Sri Lankan troops.

"We remain with one last choice -- to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns," the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said, quoting a statement by the LTTE's chief of international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan.

The rebels' statement follows President Mahinda Rajapaksa's declaration that the LTTE has been defeated militarily. "This battle has reached its bitter end," Pathmanathan said, adding that "our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer."

The Sri Lankan government today said that all civilians have been rescued from the ever-shrinking No Fire Zone, where the remnant LTTE fighters are holed up.

Pathmanathan said the rebels 'willingly stand up with courage and silence our guns'."

"We have no other option other than to continue our plea to the international community to save our people," he was quoted as saying by Tamilnet.

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to Sri Lanka from Jordan where he announced his military's victory over the LTTE, even as two top Tiger leaders were among 70 killed in last legs of fighting amid unconfirmed reports of about 300 rebels committing suicide.

Returning to Colombo after cutting short his visit, Rajapaksa saluted his country, which he said has been "liberated" from LTTE's terrorism, as he was welcomed by hundreds of supporters at the international airport.

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