A day after the Sri Lankan military said it had killed Tamil Tiger chief Vellupillai Prabharakan, President Mahinda Rajapakse announced the "complete defeat" of the Tiger rebels in an official victory speech to parliament Tuesday.
Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran is dead, the Sri Lankan military has claimed. His death, if confirmed, could signal the end of a bitter civil war that has torn Sri Lanka in two over nearly 30 years.
The Sri Lankan military announced on Monday that the leader of the island's Tamil Tigers was "alive but surrounded" by government troops, after claiming earlier that three senior rebel leaders had been killed in the conflict zone.
The Sri Lanka military announced Monday that three senior Tamil Tiger leaders, including the head of the political wing, have been killed. But the report could not be confirmed since independent observers are banned from the conflict zone.
With the Tamil Tigers reduced to a shrinking stretch of coastland, the Sri Lankan army says it is ready for the final assault. But the government in Colombo claims the last remaining rebels are using some 50,000 civilians as human shields.