Tamil Boss Shot Dead Trying to Flee

After 26 years, Tamil Tigers resoundingly defeated
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2009 3:51 AM CDT
Sri Lankan army soldiers receive displaced ethnic Tamil civilians in Kariyalamullivaikal, Sri Lanka.   (AP Photo/Sri Lanka Army, HO)
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(Newser) – The leader of the Tamil Tigers was shot dead before dawn this morning as the Sri Lankan army moved into the rebel group's final stronghold, the Guardian reports. Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed while trying to flee the war zone in an ambulance. Four other senior Tigers, including his son, were also killed. News of his death sparked celebrations in Sri Lanka, which has endured 25 years of civil war.

Sri Lanka's president announced yesterday that the army had defeated the Tamil Tigers. But gun battles are continuing in the tiny coastal strip where the rebels mounted their last stand, and one military leader said that "mopping up operations are still going on." Thousands of civilians have died in the final months of the conflict, and international organizations have condemned both sides for failing to protect innocent citizens.