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State TV says Sri Lanka rebel leader killed

[AP, Monday, 18 May 2009 08:54 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s state television station announced Monday that Tamil Tiger rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has been killed.

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 Lanka.

Rupavahini television, the state broadcaster, broke into its regular programming Monday afternoon to announce Prabakharan’s death. They gave no details of how he was killed.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan military officials say Velupillai Prabhakaran the leader of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels was killed Monday by government forces.

Two officials confirmed Prabhakaran’s death. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Prabhakaran and two of his top commanders, know as Soosai and Pottu Amman, drove in an armor-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.

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