Sri Lanka confirms Tiger leader killed

Monday 18 May 2009 22.40
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Sri Lanka - Bodies of leading rebels found
Sri Lanka - Bodies of leading rebels found
Mahinda Rajapaksa  - Declared victory
Mahinda Rajapaksa - Declared victory

The Sri Lankan military has said it has found the body of Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

The body of Mr Prabhakaran's son, Charles Anthony, has also been found along with those of other leading Tiger members.

Military officials said Mr Prabhakaran had been shot dead as he tried to flee the war zone in an ambulance.

State television has reported the end of combat operations with the military quoted as saying the Tamil Tigers had been totally defeated.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared victory on Saturday and the Tigers admitted defeat the day after, even as the last battle in a civil war that erupted in 1983 was being fought inside less than a square kilometre.

In Colombo, demonstrators threw rocks at the British High Commission and tossed a burning effigy of Foreign Secretary David Miliband inside.

Mr Miliband has been critical of the Sri Lankan government's prosecution of the war, and is seen as sympathetic to the vocal pro-LTTE lobby that has protested outside parliament for weeks in Britain.

Sri Lanka has been furious that a number of its embassies in foreign capitals have been vandalised by Tamil Tiger backers.

At the front, troops found the body of Mr Prabhakaran's son and heir-apparent, Charles Anthony, a defence spokesman said.

The head of the Tiger’s political wing along with a spokesman were among 78 bodies also found.

The remaining LTTE fighters were battling special forces troops from bunkers surrounded by mines and booby-traps.

Military sources said checks were still being carried out on a body thought to be Mr Prabhakaran's, but so far were inconclusive.

The final battle intensified after the last of the 72,000 civilians remaining in the war zone were reported freed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the EU has called for an independent inquiry into alleged violations of humanitarian and human rights laws in Sri Lanka.

Foreign ministers meeting in Brussels said the EU was ‘appalled’ by reports of high numbers of civilian casualties, including children, in fighting between government forces and Tamil Tigers.